[House Hearing, 111 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION ACT REAUTHORIZATION:
ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF DIVERSE STUDENTS

=======================================================================

HEARING

before the

SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

COMMITTEE ON
EDUCATION AND LABOR

U.S. House of Representatives

ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

__________

HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 18, 2010

__________

Serial No. 111-53

__________

Printed for the use of the Committee on Education and Labor

Available on the Internet:
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/house/education/index.html

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GEORGE MILLER, California, Chairman

Dale E. Kildee, Michigan, Vice       John Kline, Minnesota,
Chairman                           Senior Republican Member
Donald M. Payne, New Jersey          Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin
Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey        Howard P. Buck'' McKeon,
Robert C. Bobby'' Scott, Virginia      California
Lynn C. Woolsey, California          Peter Hoekstra, Michigan
Ruben Hinojosa, Texas                Michael N. Castle, Delaware
Carolyn McCarthy, New York           Mark E. Souder, Indiana
John F. Tierney, Massachusetts       Vernon J. Ehlers, Michigan
Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio             Judy Biggert, Illinois
David Wu, Oregon                     Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania
Rush D. Holt, New Jersey             Joe Wilson, South Carolina
Susan A. Davis, California           Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington
Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona            Tom Price, Georgia
Timothy H. Bishop, New York          Rob Bishop, Utah
Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania             Brett Guthrie, Kentucky
David Loebsack, Iowa                 Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
Mazie Hirono, Hawaii                 Tom McClintock, California
Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania          Duncan Hunter, California
Phil Hare, Illinois                  David P. Roe, Tennessee
Yvette D. Clarke, New York           Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania
Joe Courtney, Connecticut
Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire
Marcia L. Fudge, Ohio
Paul Tonko, New York
Pedro R. Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan,
Northern Mariana Islands
Judy Chu, California

Mark Zuckerman, Staff Director
Barrett Karr, Minority Staff Director
------

SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan, Chairman

Donald M. Payne, New Jersey          Michael N. Castle, Delaware,
Robert C. Bobby'' Scott, Virginia    Ranking Minority Member
Rush D. Holt, New Jersey             Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin
Susan A. Davis, California           Peter Hoekstra, Michigan
Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona            Mark E. Souder, Indiana
Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania             Vernon J. Ehlers, Michigan
David Loebsack, Iowa                 Judy Biggert, Illinois
Mazie Hirono, Hawaii                 Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania
Jared Polis, Colorado                Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington
Pedro R. Pierluisi, Puerto Rico      Rob Bishop, Utah
Gregorio Sablan, Northern Mariana    Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
Islands                          Tom McClintock, California
Lynn C. Woolsey, California          Duncan Hunter, California
Ruben Hinojosa, Texas
Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio
Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania
Judy Chu, California

C O N T E N T S

----------
Page

Hearing held on March 18, 2010...................................     1

Statement of Members:
Castle, Hon. Michael N., Ranking Minority Member,
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary
Education..................................................     3
Kildee, Hon. Dale E., Chairman, Subcommittee on Early
Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education..............     1
Prepared statement of the Tribal Education
Departments National Assembly......................    61
Miller, Hon. George, Chairman, Committee on Education and
Labor, submission for the record:
Letter, dated March 25, 2010, from the National
Disability Rights Network (NDRN).......................    64

Statement of Witnesses:
Curry, Dr. Daniel, superintendent, Lake Forest School
District, Kent County, DE..................................    36
Prepared statement of....................................    38
Dale, Dr. Jack, superintendent, Fairfax County Public
Schools, Fairfax, VA.......................................    40
Prepared statement of....................................    41
Diaz, Arelis E., assistant superintendent of curriculum/
instruction and human resources, Godwin Heights Public
Schools....................................................    21
Prepared statement of....................................    22
Gipp, Dr. David M., on behalf of the National Congress of
American Indians and the National Indian Education
Association................................................    14
Prepared statement of....................................    16
Kearns, Jacqui Farmer, Ed.D., Principal Investigator,
National Alternate Assessment Center, U.S. Department of
Education..................................................    26
Prepared statement of....................................    28
Wotorson, Michael, executive director, Campaign for High
School Equity..............................................     7
Prepared statement of....................................     9

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION ACT REAUTHORIZATION:
ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF
DIVERSE STUDENTS

----------

Thursday, March 18, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives

Subcommittee on Early Childhood,

Elementary and Secondary Education

Committee on Education and Labor

Washington, DC

----------

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., in
room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dale Kildee
[chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Kildee, Scott, Davis, Loebsack,
Polis, Pierluisi, Sablan, Hinojosa, Kucinich, Titus, Chu,
Castle, Petri, Ehlers, Biggert, and Platts.
Staff present: Tylease Alli, Hearing Clerk; Jody Calemine,
General Counsel; Jamie Fasteau, Senior Education Policy
Advisor; David Hartzler, Systems Administrator; Fred Jones,
Staff Assistant, Education; Sharon Lewis, Senior Disability
Policy Advisor; Sadie Marshall, Chief Clerk; Ricardo Martinez,
Policy Advisor, Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong
Learning and Competitiveness; Bryce McKibbon, Staff Assistant;
Lillian Pace, Policy Advisor, Subcommittee on Early Childhood,
Elementary and Secondary Education; Kristina Peterson, Einstein
Fellow; Alexandria Ruiz, Staff Assistant; Melissa Salmanowitz,
Press Secretary; Stephanie Arras, Legislative Assistant; James
Bergeron, Deputy Director of Education and Human Services
Policy; Kirk Boyle, General Counsel; Alexa Marrero,
Communications Director; Susan Ross, Director of Education and
Human Resources Policy; and Linda Stevens, Chief Clerk/
Assistant to the General Counsel.
Chairman Kildee [presiding]. A quorum being present, the
hearing of the subcommittee will come to order. Pursuant to
subcommittee rule 12(a), all members may submit an opening
statement in writing, which will be made part of the permanent
record.
I now recognize myself for an opening statement.
I want to welcome everyone to today's hearing, entitled
ESEA Reauthorization: Addressing the Needs of Diverse
Students.'' We have been talking about this for many years. I
can recall when we first coined the word disaggregated
data,'' and that word has been in our lexicon since.
The timing of this hearing is critically important, as we
continue to review the administration's blueprint for ESEA
reauthorization and work as a committee to reform our nation's
primary K-12 education law. I hope today's discussion brings us
one step closer to that goal.
The governor and I here have met regularly with the
secretary of education and with some of the Senate leaders on
this bill. This is a high priority. The governor and I have
worked together many times on good education bills and look
forward to this process.
I also want to thank our witnesses for taking the time out
of their very busy schedules to inform this process. We can't
do our jobs, really, without input from educators, advocates,
and researchers who are working hard to help all children
succeed.
Like many of my colleagues, I am pleased that we are
embarking on another bipartisan reauthorization. I have
participated in five reauthorizations of ESEA during my 34
years here in Congress and strongly believe that this next
reauthorization is long overdue.
While the No Child Left Behind Act shed light on the
inequalities in our education system, it unfortunately did not
do enough to close the achievement gap for diverse students.
The federal government has a responsibility before all
others to ensure equal opportunity. This must be a top priority
for future steps in education reform. Just as our country grows
increasingly diverse, we must ensure that our education system
adapts to varying student needs.
By strengthening current programs for diverse students and
investing in innovative strategies for closing the achievement
gap, we have an opportunity to change the future course for
millions of students.
It is very interesting when you look around our country
today--and even at the time that I first entered politics--we
find a cross-section basically of the world. You go to
California, for example, and you find no majority ethnic group.
And as a cross-section of the world, we should set an example
for the rest of the world, how we can live together in peace
and educational development.
So you have in your hands an enormous responsibility to
make us become aware of our responsibility during this hearing
today.
We must also explore ways to eliminate the system's
inequalities, encouraging a more equitable distribution of
resources, expanding access to rigorous curriculum in high-need
communities, and providing incentives to improve the
distribution of effective teachers.
As we continue to explore these ideas and many others that
we will hear in the weeks and months to come, I hope we never
lose sight of the opportunity we have before us. We must
prepare to do what is right for all students, even if it
requires a lot of work and significant change.
Today we will hear recommendations from a panel of
educators, advocates, and a researcher working to close the
achievement gap for diverse students. These panelists will help
us better understand the challenges facing low-income minority
students, English-language learners, students with
disabilities, Native American students, and homeless students.
Given the importance of today's topic, I know our panel
will give us a lot of thoughts to ponder over as we work across
the aisle and the capital to improve our education system. I
look forward to your testimony.
It is my pleasure to yield 5 minutes or such time as he may
consume to Governor Castle. Governor?
Mr. Castle. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am very pleased also to be here and to welcome all the
witnesses here today to what I think is an important hearing. I
would like to thank you, Chairman Kildee, for holding today's
hearing. This is a fourth in the current series, as I
understand it, as the committee begins the process of
reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
I would also, obviously, like to thank all the people who
come here today to listen to this testimony. I believe it is
imperative that we examine all these issues thoroughly,
particularly through this hearing process.
We began the process last Congress, and I am glad that
today we are taking another look at our nation's diverse
student populations, which includes students with disabilities,
English-language learners, students in rural areas, Native
American students, homeless students, and minority and ethnic
students.
Addressing the needs of these students was the driving
force behind the most recent overhaul of federal K-12 education
policy, which Congress passed in 2001. Prior to that time,
states and school districts were not required to report the
academic achievement of these subgroups, and many schools were
masking the lagging performance of these students with the test
scores of their more affluent, higher performing students.
In 2001, we put these students front and center, and states
and school districts all across the country have responded with
innovative programs and practices to ensure that all students
now have the opportunity to succeed academically, but it hasn't
been easy. This new focus on diverse learners has presented
significant challenges to states, school districts, and
schools, who have struggled to make changes in teacher
professional development, curriculum and instructional
strategies to ensure diverse student populations have every
opportunity to meet high academic standards, and that is why we
are here today.
We owe it to these students to ensure that they receive the
same high-quality education as their peers. But we also owe it
to states and local areas to give them the tools necessary to
educate students for the wide range of needs.
Current law was crafted under the guiding principle that
all students can and deserve to learn, diverse student
populations being no exception. As we begin rewriting ESEA this
year, we cannot lose sight of this. I believe that our
witnesses today will provide us with valuable information about
the importance of and the challenges that states and school
districts face in educating diverse student learners.
I hope to hear how educators at the state and local levels
are working to ensure that special populations are receiving
high-quality instruction that can lead to high academic
achievement. I also want to hear that where there have been
problems and challenges in the implementation of current law
from the state, school district and school level.
Finally, I look forward to suggestions about how to reform
ESEA to ensure that it accounts for the complexities that
states, school districts and schools must address in educating
diverse learners, especially how we ensure that they are
properly assessed so that teachers and school administrators
can develop appropriate strategies.
I hope today's hearing will help us understand these issues
better, which are some of the most difficult and important ones
facing us in current law and issues that must be considered
carefully as we craft education reform policy this year.
I thank you again for joining us this Thursday morning, and
I look forward to your testimony. And I yield back, Mr.
Chairman.
Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much, Governor.
Without objection, all members will have 14 calendar days
to submit additional materials or questions for the hearing
record.
Now I would like to introduce our very distinguished panel
of witnesses here this morning. Michael Wotorson is the
executive director of the Campaign for High School Equity, a
partnership of 10 leading civil rights and educational
organizations focused on high school education reform. Mr.
Wotorson has spent his career advocating in support of
educational equality and civil rights, working for more than 15
years as a researcher, advocate and policy analyst.
Prior to joining CHSE, Mr. Wotorson was national education
director for the NAACP and has held numerous other positions,
including at the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, Fair Employment
Council of Greater Washington, and the Anti-Defamation League.
Originally from Liberia, West Africa, Mr. Wotorson holds
bachelor and master of arts degrees in political science from
the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Our second witness is Dr. David Gipp, who is a citizen of
the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and has served as
president of the United Tribes Technical College since 1977.
United Tribes College serves over 1,100 adults and 500
children, with three early childhood centers and a K-8
elementary school.
Among other posts, President Gipp has served as an
education adviser for the greater plains tribes on the Bureau
of Indian Affairs Tribal and Advisory Budget Council, board
member for the National Indian Education Association, executive
director and past president and current board member of the
American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and past chair and
current board member of the American Indian College Fund.
He has also received numerous recognitions, including the
North Dakota governor's service award, the National Indian
Education Association's Indian educator of the year, and the
North Dakota multicultural educator of the year. President Gipp
was educated at the University of North Dakota and holds a
doctorate in laws, honoris causa, from North Dakota State
University for his contributions to tribal higher education.
I will now yield to my colleague, Congressman Ehlers,
colleague and friend, who is voluntarily leaving the Congress.
That is the best way to leave. Some leave involuntarily, but
Vern has served well here.
I one time was--give me a minute here--I one time was asked
by a reporter from his paper who was doing a little profile on
him what I thought about Vern Ehlers, and I told the reporter
that if we had more Vern Ehlers in the Congress, we could get
things done around here rather than sitting around shouting at
one another, and I still believe that today. He is a credit.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for those kind words,
and the feeling is mutual.
I am very pleased to introduce my constituent, Arelis Diaz,
who is the assistant superintendent of Godwin Heights Public
Schools. This is a school district that serves approximately
2,200 preschool through 12th grade students in Wyoming,
Michigan.
Now, you have to understand geography in Michigan. The city
of Wyoming, which she is from, is about 10 miles west of
Alaska. Another interesting quirk in my district is we have a
harbor in my district, and it is located roughly one mile from
Podunk, so--so we have great diversity in my particular
district.
She has had academic success with diverse students,
including English-language learners, which is a big deal in our
area, because the nature of our district--the people are very
generous, and we have received far more than our share of
refugees from other countries. And that shows in our school
districts that we have handled them very well, and she is had
great success with that.
Prior to her current position, she was a principal and led
North Godwin Elementary to be recognized as a high-performing
school by the Just For Kids program at the Michigan Chamber
Foundation. The school also recently received a Dispelling the
Myth award by the Education Trust.
As a teacher for English-language learners, she was
recognized by the Michigan education association for her work
in promoting diversity. Arelis has also received the
educational excellent award by the Michigan school boards
association for her development of the Parents are Teachers
English-language learners parent after school program. So you
can see she is had experience in many different areas in
dealing with non-English-speaking students.
Born as a first-generation American in Chicago to immigrant
parents from the Dominican Republic and raised in Puerto Rico,
Arelis now lives with her husband, Andre, and their three
children in Byron Center, Michigan. I am pleased to introduce
her to the committee.
Thank you.
Chairman Kildee. Our fourth witness, Dr. Jacqui Kearns,
serves as principal investigator for the federally funded
National Alternate Assessment Center, which assists five states
in developing validity evaluations for their alternate
assessments on alternate achievement designs. She played a key
role in the design and implementation of the first alternate
assessment used in an accountability system as part of
Kentucky's education reform act in the early 1990s.
Dr. Kearns also helped a number of states in the design,
implementation and evaluation of alternate assessments after
passage of the IDEA reauthorization in 1997. Dr. Kearns is a
third-generation educator with 9 years of district classroom
experience teaching students with significant cognitive
disabilities. She is a parent of two children, ages 7 and 4,
one of whom was recently diagnosed with ADHD and is receiving
service through response to intervention, RTI.
I will now yield to our committee's ranking member,
Governor Castle, to introduce the final two witnesses.
Mr. Castle. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And happy to introduce our witnesses. First, there will be
Dan Curry. Dr. Daniel Curry currently serves as the
superintendent of Lake Forest School District in my home state
of Delaware. The Lake Forest School District serves more than
3,700 students in southern Kent County, Delaware, 15 miles
south of the capital of Dover.
Dr. Curry began his 36-year education career at a local
elementary school in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, where he
taught fourth and sixth grade before his first assignment as
the principal at age 24. During his time in the county, he
served as an elementary school principal, a middle school
principle, and all-purpose central office administrator, and
even drove a school bus on occasion, representing the dual
roles that most educators play in small rural areas.
At age 34, he was named county superintendent, where he
served for a total of 15 years. Dr. Curry has also worked in
the West Virginia Department of Education. And he and I spent
time together touring the Lake Forest people, I should say, at
a school, and he is a wonderful tour guide, too, and everyone
seems to like him greatly in the job he is doing.
Dr. Jake Dale is the current superintendent of Fairfax
County Public Schools, the nation's 13th-largest school system.
He has served as superintendent since July 2004. From 1996
until 2004, Dr. Dale served as superintendent for Frederick
County public schools where, in his fourth year, he was named
Maryland's superintendent of the year.
I would like to point out I have been in Congress for 18
years and nobody has ever named me the outstanding legislator
of the year or anything like that.
Previously, Dr. Dale served as the associate superintendent
for school administration, curriculum, and instruction at the
Edmonds School District in Edmonds, Washington. He also served
as director of personnel in the Everett, Washington, school
district, assistant to the director at the Center for the
Assessment of Administrative Performance at the University of
Washington and director of school instructional services,
assistant principal, and mathematics teacher in the Bellevue
School District, Washington.
Dr. Dale is co-editor and author of the book Creating
Successful School Systems'' and has conducted workshops on
teacher compensation systems for No Child Left Behind
initiatives. He has also published papers in the Executive
Educator, International Journal of Education Reform, American
Association of School Personnel Administrators, Research Brief
and SIRS Management Information, all of which are publications
we read up here on a regular basis, sort of tongue-in-cheek.
But I congratulate Dr. Dale on a wonderful career, as well,
and we are delighted to have all the witnesses here today.
Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much, Governor.
Before we begin, let me briefly explain our lighting system
and the 5-minute rule. Everyone, including members of Congress,
is limited to 5 minutes of presentation or questioning. The
light is green when you begin to speak. When you see the yellow
light, it means you have one minute remaining. When the light
turns red, your time has expired and you need to conclude your
testimony.
Please be certain as you testify to turn on and speak into
the microphones in front of you. Don't worry, there is no
ejection seat. So if you want to, you know, finish a thought,
you don't have to cut it off in the middle of that.
So we will now hear from our first witness, Mr. Michael
Wotorson.

STATEMENT OF MICHAEL T.S. WOTORSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
CAMPAIGN FOR HIGH SCHOOL EQUITY

Mr. Wotorson. Chairmen Kildee, Ranking Member Castle, and
distinguished committee members, good morning and thank you for
inviting me to testify. My name is Michael Wotorson, as was
stated earlier, and I serve as the executive director for the
Campaign for High School Equity.
I am here this morning not only representing the civil
rights coalition that comprises our organization. I am here to
speak on behalf of the over 18 million young people, students
of color enrolled in public elementary and high schools in the
U.S. I am also here on behalf of the over 1 million kids who
choose to drop out of high school each year, often making that
choice because they are forced to contend with ineffective
construction, low academic standards not aligned to college and
resources.
So my remarks today are going to be focused on the kinds of
support that high school students, particularly students of
color and Native students, need to graduate prepared for
college work and life.
The reauthorization of ESEA presents a historic opportunity
to build upon the promise and the achievements of the 2002
reauthorization known as No Child Left Behind, while remedying
the defects that have limited the laws affecting this in
eliminating educational inequities.
To be sure, NCLB was a step forward and greatly enhanced
the potential for conditions prevent students of color to
achieve to be removed, to be unhidden, particularly as faced by
ethnic minorities and language minorities of low-income
students and students with disabilities.
As a direct result of that 2002 legislation, the discussion
and the notion of school accountability is much more widely
accepted, and important attention is being paid to addressing
achievement gaps, enhancing college and career readiness, and
strengthening high school graduation rates for all students.
If we intend to improve America's schools, ESEA needs to be
strengthened in many ways. For CHSE, this means expanding the
focus on how we address the unique needs of high school
students of color, Native students, and English-language
learners. The pervasive and persistent inequities in our public
education system puts students of color at a disproportionate
disadvantage as they continue to attend highly segregated
schools, despite the decades-old Brown v. Board ruling.
To ensure access to equal educational opportunities and to
reverse the graduation crisis among students of color, our
system of education must challenge all students to meet the
same high academic expectations. Indeed, in 2008, an American
Council on Education report revealed that, counter to earlier
trends, far too many of today's young Americans are realizing
lower levels of educational attainment than in previous
generations.
In years past, our economy allowed high school students to
find meaningful employment without the requirement of
significant education and training beyond high school. Today in
the increasingly global economy, there is a demand that
American students are prepared to compete with students from
around the world. Unfortunately, most of our high school
students do not measure up to their international peers.
It is critical, therefore, that as a society, we provide
students with high-caliber, relevant academic coursework to
adequately prepare them for the increasingly international
post-high school reality of college and work.
Students who attend colleague without having mastered basic
skills cost our nation over 2 billion a year in remediation costs. Additionally, many employers today lament that high school graduates often do not have the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Clearly, we need to restore the value of the high school diploma. To do so, we must align state academic standards to college and work readiness so that our nation's graduates leave high school prepared to be highly skilled employees and leaders of tomorrow. At CHSE, we believe that the American education policy should prepare all students for this reality. And to do so, we believe ESEA should aim high and address critical needs of high school students through the following suggestions. Number one, make all students proficient and prepared for college and work. We should guarantee as a minimum threshold that all students have access to rigorous and engaging coursework in core subjects. Number two, hold high schools accountable for students' success. It is imperative that we hold high schools accountable for getting students successfully through to graduation by including meaningful graduation rates in federal school accountability standards. We should also improve data systems as a critical component of a strong accountability system. As we all know, making decisions without the benefit of fully disaggregated data ignores the unique needs of students of color and ill prepares school administrators to allocate resources based on student and teacher needs. For example, without fully disaggregated data, the needs of whole segments of Asian-American and Pacific Islander populations are often neglected and, as a result, entire groups of kids end up falling through the cracks. Number three, fundamentally redesign the American high school. In order to address students' diverse needs, states and districts must provide their schools with the means to explore and implement new educational models, as well as other effective interventions, such as literacy programs, personal graduation plans, and extended learning time. Number four, provide students with excellent leaders and teachers. The federal government can support programs that establish incentives to recruit, train, support and retain effective leaders and teachers in high poverty high schools. Number five, invest communities in students' success. The school environment is critical to student success, but we also know it is not the only factor that impacts a secondary school student's academic and social outcomes. Families and communities also play key roles. Number six, provide equitable learning conditions for all students. Persistent disparities in the allocation of key education resources often bar low-income and minority students from receiving a high-quality education, a high-quality education that they so richly deserve, so resources must be distributed equitably, used effectively, and directed where they are needed the most. I just want to say two quick things about our specific recommendation--or actually, three quick things about our recommendation. I am happy to answer questions later. Number one, our policy should invest in interventions that work. Number three, our policy should adopt effective teaching policy strategies and make sure they are distributed equitably. And number three, we should make sure that we do, in fact, improve data systems for all students. Thank you very much. [The statement of Mr. Wotorson follows:] Prepared Statement of Michael Wotorson, Executive Director, Campaign for High School Equity Chairman Kildee, Ranking Member Castle, and distinguished Committee members, thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Michael Wotorson and I serve as executive director of the Campaign for High School Equity, otherwise known as CHSE. CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Our goal is to advance solutions to close the achievement gap for students of color and Native students and to build public will and support among policymakers, advocates and community leaders for policies that will strengthen high school quality and graduation rates for minority and low-income students. CHSE partners include the National Urban League, the National Council of La Raza, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the National Indian Education Association and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. I am here today not only representing the nine national civil rights and education advocacy organizations that comprise our coalition. I am here to speak on behalf of the nearly 18.4 million students of color and Native students enrolled in public elementary and high schools in the United States. I am also here on behalf of the over 1 million students who choose to drop out of our nation's high schools each year. CHSE believes in the very simple premise that in order to ensure all students unfettered and equitable access to educational opportunities and to arrest the high school graduation crisis among students of color, we must have a system of education that challenges and supports all students to meet the demands of a college and of the modern workforce. My remarks today therefore will be focused on the kinds of supports that high school students, particularly students of color and Native students, need to graduate prepared for college, work, and life. Building on Past Successes The promise of a high-quality high school education is integral to our success as a nation. From meeting the president's goal of again leading the world in the number of college graduates, to competing in a global economy, to citizen participation in our democracy, education is a basic building block. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Act presents a historic opportunity to build upon the promise and achievements of the 2002 reauthorization, commonly known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, while remedying defects that have limited the law's effectiveness in eliminating educational inequities. NCLB was a step forward. It greatly enhanced ESEA's potential to improve conditions for students of color, first by holding states, school districts, and schools accountable for the academic success of all students; and second, by disaggregating data for racial and ethnic minorities, language minorities, low-income students, and students with disabilities. The simple fact is that the 2002 reauthorization of ESEA moved us significantly closer to strengthening educational quality for all students. In short, it eliminated the ability to hide the often tragic conditions student so of color face in our schools and consequences of our collective failure to educate all of our students at a high level. Today as a direct result of the 2002 legislation, the critical importance of school accountability is widely accepted and important attention is being paid to addressing achievement gaps, enhancing college and career readiness, and strengthening high school graduation rates for all students. The 2002 reauthorization of ESEA effectively changed our national conversation about educational excellence and equity. We must not retreat on these gains if we are to continue making important progress. If we do intend to improve America's schools, ESEA needs to be strengthened in many ways. For CHSE, this means expanding the focus on how we address the unique needs of high school students of color, Native students, and English language learner (ELL) students. The pervasive and persistent inequities in our public education system puts students of color at a disproportionate disadvantage as they continue to attend highly segregated schools, despite the decades old Brown v. Board of Education ruling. For example, three out of every four of Latino students and 56 percent of all Asian Americans\1\ attend segregated schools in which minorities comprise 50 percent or more of the student population.\2\ Latinos and African Americans comprise 80 percent of the student population in extreme-poverty schools where 90 to 100 percent of the population is considered low-income.\3\ We need to ensure that all American students have access to equitable learning conditions whether they come from high or low-income neighborhoods. To ensure access to equal educational opportunities and reverse the graduation crisis among students of color, our system of education must challenge all students to meet the same high academic expectations. Indeed, a 2008 American Council on Education report revealed that counter to earlier trends, far too many of today's young Americans are realizing lower levels of educational attainment than in previous generations.\4\ In years past, our economy allowed high school students to find meaningful employment without the requirement of significant education and training beyond high school. Today, the increasingly global economy demands that American students are prepared to compete with students from around the world.\5\ Unfortunately, American high school students do not measure up to their international peers. It is critical that as a society, we provide students with high caliber, relevant academic coursework to adequately prepare them for the increasingly international post-high-school reality of college and work. Students who attend college without having mastered basic skills cost our nation over2 billion a year in remedial coursework.\6\
Additionally, many of today's employers lament that high school
graduates do not have the skills necessary to be successful in the
workplace. Clearly, we must restore the value of a high school diploma
by increasing academic rigor. To do so, we must align state academic
standards to college and work readiness so that as our nation's
graduates leave high school, they are prepared to assume roles as
America's college students, highly skilled employees, and leaders of
tomorrow.
Policy Solutions
CHSE believes that American education policy can prepare all
students for college, work and life by creating an environment in which
all children can achieve that goal regardless of race, ethnicity, or
socioeconomic status. To do this, ESEA should aim high and address the
critical needs of all high school students through the following
policies:
1. Make All Students Proficient and Prepared for College
and Work
We should guarantee that all students have access to rigorous and
engaging coursework in core subjects. Coursework should impart the
knowledge and skills needed to excel in postsecondary education and
career, and assessments should measure student learning against these
criteria. States should in turn be required to publicly report on
access to college preparatory classes and course-taking patterns by
income, race and ethnicity, both among and within schools.
2. Hold High Schools Accountable for Student Success
It is imperative that we hold high schools accountable for getting
students successfully to graduation by including meaningful graduation
rates in federal school accountability standards. Codifying in law the
current graduation rate regulations would make a significant difference
and would serve as a critical factor in determining the quality of a
high school and it would be an effective use of resources.
Improving data systems is another critical component of a strong
accountability system. They will to not only improve the fairness and
accuracy of accountability systems, including ensuring increased
accountability for groups that are often marginalized, such as, ELLs,
Native Americans and Southeast Asians, but will also allow schools to
target services such as professional development where they are needed
most.
Additionally, making decisions without the benefit of fully
disaggregated data ignores the unique needs of students of color and
ill prepares school administrators to allocate resources based on
student and teacher needs. While many states disaggregate data,
inconsistencies in collection and reporting standards leave entire
groups of students out of the equation. For example, without fully
disaggregated data, the needs of whole segments of the Asian American
and Pacific Islander population are neglected. As a result, entire
groups of these young people end up falling through the cracks.
We must also establish accurate and reliable assessments for ELLs.
States have not yet implemented valid and reliable Title I or Title III
assessments for ELLs, and the U.S. Department of Education has not yet
provided sufficient technical assistance or guidance to the states in
the development of appropriate assessment policies and practices. Both
failures have severely hindered the effectiveness of NCLB for ELLs.
3. Redesign the American High School
In order to address students' diverse needs, states and districts
must provide their schools with the means to explore and implement new
educational models, as well as other effective interventions such as
literacy programs, personal graduation plans, and extended learning
time.
4. Provide Students with Excellent Leaders and Teachers
The federal government can support programs that establish
incentives to recruit, train, support and retain effective leaders and
teachers in high-poverty high schools. Federal education policy that
promotes culturally based teaching, a practice wherein teachers align
instruction to the cultural practices and experiences of their
students, is also critical to helping all students succeed.
5. Invest Communities in Student Success
The school environment is critical to student success, but we also
know it is not the only factor that impacts a secondary school
students' academic and social outcomes. Families and communities also
play key roles. Students in low-performing schools often do not receive
the same exposure to outside learning opportunities as their more
affluent counterparts. Our policy must harmonize the incentive and
disincentive structures of the external and internal environments to
support all students' ability to stay in school, excel academically,
and develop into a productive individual.
6. Provide Equitable Learning Conditions for All Students
Persistent disparities in the allocation of key education resources
often bar low-income and minority students from receiving the high-
quality education they deserve. Research demonstrates that, across
states, school districts that enroll the highest percentage of students
of color and low-income students receive fewer resources than school
districts serving white and affluent students.\7\ Resources must be
distributed equitably, used effectively, and directed to where they are
needed the most.
7. Support the State-led Common Core Standards
The state-led effort on common standards can be a critical first
step in reforming the American educational system. If developed and
implemented effectively, high common standards can help to improve our
education system with significant benefits for students of color. The
federal government should support states when necessary, as these
standards have the prospect to challenge all students to reach the same
high expectations.
8. Expand Learning Opportunities Beyond the School Day
Often, increasing the engagement of older youth requires more than
just time beyond the traditional school day. The innovation and
enrichment that can take place beyond the regular school day can help
students stay engaged in school and graduate.
I would like to speak in more depth about a few areas of interest:
turning around low-performing schools, student supports needed to help
all students succeed, and effective teaching.
Turning around Low-performing Schools
Our nation's students of color are four times more likely than non-
minority students to attend a persistently low-performing school, and
three times less likely to attend a high school with very high
graduation rates. In fact, dropout factories produce 81 percent of all
Native American dropouts, 73 percent of all African American dropouts,
and 66 percent of all Latino dropouts.
Despite these alarming statistics, the majority of low-performing
high schools are left out of school improvement efforts because many
are not eligible for Title I support, the trigger for school
improvement efforts. In fact, only 61 percent of dropout factories are
eligible for--and, many analysts believe, even fewer actually receive--
Title I funds. Even if they do receive Title I funds, many dropout
factories will likely not be identified as in need of improvement''
since graduation rates are not significantly factored into the
determination of a school's success or failure. For example, 41 percent
of dropout factories made AYP in the 2004--05 school year.\8\
We have an opportunity right now to ensure that low-performing high
schools benefit from attention, resources, and aggressive reform by
making sure high schools are eligible for Title I, are held accountable
for graduation rates in addition to academic achievement, and are
included in school improvement calculations and intervention
strategies.
Invest in Interventions that Work
Creating high-performing high schools that give all students the
support they need to succeed is no small task, and it requires changing
the school in addition to a community investment. To truly serve the
needs of America's diverse learners, high schools must be redesigned
by:
implementing a variety of quality high school models shown
to support different learning styles and student situations;
providing integrated student supports that utilize both
in-school and community-based services (for example, high-quality high
school counselors, graduation coaches, social workers, and health care
and mental health services);
promoting strategies (such as literacy coaches or native
language instruction) and targeted interventions (such as afterschool
programs or block scheduling) that improve student numeracy and
subjects;
promoting instructional practices designed to meet the
needs of diverse learners such as reflexive learning and culturally
competent learning techniques; and
ensuring that legally and educationally valid criteria are
used to appropriately inform decisions regarding student eligibility
for services in special education, services for ELLs, college
preparatory curricula, and gifted and talented programs.
CHSE believes that community-based organizations (CBOs) play a
critical role in providing much-needed wrap-around services,
particularly for students of color and Native students. The federal
government should support the creation and expansion of multilingual
parent centers, as well as CBO-based expanded learning opportunities
including afterschool and summer programs, business-school partnerships
and other community-based support services needed to help students stay
in school and graduate.
Throughout a reauthorized ESEA, we must remember that successful
strategies for high school students differ from those of younger
students. High school students are inherently more mobile, have
competing demands on their time--including sports, clubs, jobs, and
family responsibilities, among other differences--and therefore,
require different strategies, activities, and supports than elementary
and middle school students. For example, expanded learning initiatives
and services for older students should use innovative practices and
partners to better develop student assets by providing leadership and
community service opportunities, work experience, academic credits and
stipends. Policy must support and drive high-school based supports such
as expanded learning programs.
An evaluation of New York City programs\9\ found certain common
elements in successful high school effort, and they differed from those
that made elementary and middle school programs successful. They
include:
the use of creative, age-appropriate strategies to recruit
youth and encourage their continued participation;
the employment of staff who could relate to youth and
staff with expertise in activity content areas;
activities designed to meet the developmental needs of
older youth, for example, through the provision of career- and college-
oriented activities and leadership opportunities; and
partnerships to increase the fiscal and other resources
available to the program.
Adopt Effective Teaching Policy Strategies and Distribute them
Equitably
High-quality teachers are the single most important factor
influencing student academic outcomes, including graduation.\10\ In
fact, the presence of an effective teacher trumps almost every other
intervention, including class size reduction, in improving student
outcomes.\11\ Students, especially students of color and Native
students who have traditionally been underserved by the system and are
most likely to benefit, are not being taught by effective teachers.\12\
In order to address this disparity, CHSE believes that it is critical
that all students, especially those most at risk of dropping out of
high school, should have access to effective teachers. Next week, CHSE
will release policy recommendations related to effective teaching. Our
vision contemplates teacher effectiveness policies that:
Are based significantly on growth in academic achievement
for all students,
Improve classroom instruction and leadership decision-
making,
Include and support high school specific solutions,
Ensure teachers (and school leaders) are culturally
competent,
Ensure Teachers of Diverse Learners are prepared and well-
resourced; and
Invest in Research
While we know that teachers are a critical determinant of how a
student will perform academically, research shows that the students
most likely to benefit are not being taught by effective teachers.\13\
Highly effective teachers are more likely to be teaching in more
affluent schools and schools with smaller populations of students of
color.\14\ Therefore CHSE supports teacher effectiveness policies that
ensure that effective teachers are equitably distributed to give all
students a fighting chance at learning.
Conclusion
In conclusion, the last reauthorized ESEA surfaced a number of
troubling academic disparities amongst student subgroups. Prior to
disaggregating data for racial, ethnic, and language minorities, low-
income students, and students with disabilities, the depth of academic
achievement gaps remained relatively hidden. While NCLB was a step in
the right direction, clearly, there is still much to do, and we must
not only do it right, we must do it NOW.
The educational interests of students of color and Native students
should be fully considered in the deliberation over ESEA. In order to
meet the needs of these students CHSE and its partners urge Congress to
ensure better support for high schools and strong accountability for
improving results for high school students.
All students--especially students of color, Native students, ELLs--
stand to benefit from a reauthorized ESEA. Waiting any longer to
reauthorize ESEA amounts to shutting the door on thousands of American
high school students and their dreams of a successful future. CHSE
looks forward to continuing to work with this Committee and the full
Congress to ensure the timely renewal of this critical civil rights
legislation.
Thank you, again, for the opportunity and privilege to testify
before you today. I would be happy to answer any questions you may
have.
endnotes
\1\ Orfield, G., and C. Lee. (2005) Why segregation matters:
Poverty and educational inequality. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights
Project at Harvard University. Available at http://bsdweb.bsdvt.org/
district/EquityExcellence/Research/Why--Segreg--Matters.pdf.
\2\ Orfield, G. and J.T. Yun, (1999) Resegregation in American
Schools. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University.
Available at http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/deseg/
Resegregation--American--Schools99.pdf.
\3\ Orfield, G., and C. Lee. (2005)
\4\ American Council on Education (2008). Minorities in Higher
Education 2008 Twenty-third Status Report. Washington, DC: Author.
\5\ National Center on Education and the Economy (2007). Tough
Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills
of the American Workforce, Executive Summary. Accessed at
www.skillscommission.org/pdf/exec--sum/ToughChoices--EXECSUM.pdf.
\6\ Strong American Schools (2008). Diploma to Nowhere. Washington,
DC: Author.
\7\ Carey, K. (2004). The funding gap 2004: Many states still
shortchange low-income and minority students. Washington, DC: Education
Trust.
\8\ Balfanz R. et al., (2007). Are NCLB's measures, incentives, and
improvement strategies the right ones for the nation's low-performing
high schools? American Educational Research Journal 44: 559--93.
\9\ Russell, C. A., Vile, J.D., Reisner, E. R., et al. (2008).
Evaluation of the New York City Department of Youth and Community
Development Out-of-School Time Programs for Youth Initiative:
Implementation of Programs for High School Youth.'' New York: New York
City Department of Youth and Community Development. Available at
\10\ Carey, K. (2004). The real value of teachers: if good teachers
matter, why don't we act like it? Thinking K-16, 8, 1. Available at
teachers.pdf.
\11\ Jerald, C., Haycock K. and A. Wilkins (2009). Fighting for
quality and equality, too: how state policymakers can ensure the drive
to improve teacher quality doesn't just trickle down to poor and
minority children. Washington DC: The Education Trust. Available at
http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/publications/files/
QualityEquity--3.pdf.
\12\ Gordon, R., Kane, T., and D. Staiger (2006). Identifying
effective teachers using performance on the job. Washington, DC:
Brookings Institution Available at http://www.brookings.edu/?/media/
Files/rc/papers/2006/04education--gordon/200604hamilton--1.pdf.
\13\ Gordon, R., Kane, T., and D. Staiger (2006). Identifying
effective teachers using performance on the job. Washington, DC:
Brookings Institution. Available at http://www.brookings.edu/?/media/
Files/rc/papers/2006/04education--gordon/200604hamilton--1.pdf.
\14\ Gordon, R., Kane, T., and D. Staiger (2006).
______

Chairman Kildee. Thank you.
Dr. Gipp?

STATEMENT OF DAVID GIPP, PRESIDENT, UNITED TRIBES TECHNICAL
COLLEGE (UTTC)

Mr. Gipp. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is an honor to be--on
behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, the
National Indian Education Association, and the National
Alliance to save native languages, it is a great honor to be
here today from Bismarck, North Dakota.
As you indicated, I am president of United Tribes Technical
College, where we have about 500 children, three early
childhood centers, and a K-8 elementary school on our campus
that represents over 70 different tribes in our student
population.
I would like to speak to about five major points relative
to American Indian tribal nations and Indian education. First,
we believe that we should strengthen tribal control in Indian
education and in education. Tribes, like communities, are fully
aware of what their children need.
As future tribal leaders, tribes recognize the importance
of providing their children with the fundamental curriculum
that state education requires. However, they also bring a
unique and critical perspective to the table, which includes
the incorporation of tribal culture and languages.
State education agencies do not understand the complexity
of tribal beliefs and, therefore, undermine the vital role in
our lives of our Indian children. Tribal education departments
are formal components of our tribal governments, and they need
to be recognized and given appropriate authority as part of the
ESEA reauthorization.
Second, we believe that there ought to be increased
coordination between the Department of Education and the Bureau
of Indian Education. About 90 percent-plus of our children are
educated in public schools and about--the other 10 percent are
educated within the Bureau of Indian Affairs systems or in
tribal schools themselves. Because our students attend public,
tribal, and BIE schools, it is critical that these education
agencies communicate and work together.
Third, there ought to be a focus on recruitment and
retention of native teachers. Indian country needs more native
teachers. Teachers that share the same cultural knowledge and
ethnic background of their students understand their
educational needs to a higher degree and act as community role
models. Consequently, teacher retention is a major issue for
us.
Tribal colleges, the 37 that are throughout the United
States, also have a critical role to play in teacher
recruitment and training. United Tribes, where I am at, offers
a 4-year elementary education degree. Graduates of this
program, almost all Native Americans, are ready to step into
the classroom at schools throughout Indian country.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act needs to include
provisions that offer incentives for students to enter teacher
training programs through our tribal colleges and universities.
Fourth, the long-term investment in culturally based
education--again, I want to highlight the importance of native
culture and language in combination with education. What we do
know is that the research shows and demonstrates that Indian
children who have a better knowledge base of their culture,
their heritage and their language also perform much better with
respect to the other kinds of academic curriculum.
We know that our students perform better academically when
they have a sense of pride and self-esteem for knowing who they
are and where they come from. This cultural foundation needs to
be reinforced and strengthened for each of our native students.
This kind of cultural-based education is being utilized in
places like Montana, and it is beginning to show good results.
We also know that native-language-based educational models
also work to improve performance. On that, we recommend that
the Esther Martinez Native American Language Preservation Act
be funded more fully and that a formula base is used for those
kinds of schools that work with immersion styles of education
for native children.
We would also like to emphasize the issue of tribal
consultation, because our tribes have a treaty and federal
Indian relationship to the United States government, as well as
our states, a nation-to-nation relationship that is reaffirmed
through those means that I have just mentioned and through
President Obama's executive order in November 5, 2009, which
requires that each agency develop a plan to implement a
consultation and coordination with tribal government.
In the past, the Department of Education has not adequately
consulted with our tribal leaders. As a result, our students
were left out of the Recovery Act's stabilization funds and the
Department of Ed's Race to the Top Initiative.
Finally, I would like to point out that each of our
speakers who have testified today are representative of various
groups throughout education. Our students cannot be
characterized into one particular single group, because
American Indian and Alaska native tribal nations are first and
foremost tribal governments and have many distinct and diverse
cultures within the 565 federally recognized Indian tribes.
Thus, there is a political aspect that is unique to our
educational system. We have students from rural and urban
areas, and many have special needs, and many come from low-
income families. We also have children who attend all forms of
schooling, public, BIE, rural and urban, and consequently our
tribes can relate to each of these groups.
We hope that the ESEA needs to assist tribal nations by
giving them the tools of control they need to make through the
various education systems consistent with each tribe's cultures
and values. I thank you for this opportunity today, Mr.
Chairman.
[The statement of Mr. Gipp follows:]

Prepared Statement of Dr. David M. Gipp, on Behalf of the National
Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Education
Association

Good morning, Chairman Kildee, Ranking Member Castle, and members
of the Subcommittee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify
today. My name is David M. Gipp. My Indian name is Lone Star or Wicahpi
Isnala, I am an enrolled citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and
I am a Hunkpapa Lakota. I have served as the president of the United
Tribes Technical College, (UTTC, sometimes referred to as United Tribes
of North Dakota) since May, 1977. On the UTTC campus, there is a Bureau
of Indian Education-funded elementary school, Theodore Jameson,
educating students in K through eighth grade, which has been in
operation for 38 years. There are three pre-K early childhood centers
on the campus as well.
We submit this testimony in collaboration with our sister
organization, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). NCAI is
the oldest and largest American Indian organization in the United
States. As the most representative national Indian organization, we
serve the broad interests of tribal governments across the nation. NCAI
was founded in 1944 in response to termination and assimilation
policies. Since then, we have fought to preserve the treaty rights and
sovereign status of Indian tribes and to ensure that Indian people may
fully participate in the political system. Our partner, NIEA, was
founded in 1969 and is committed to increasing the educational
opportunities and resources for Indian students while protecting our
cultural and linguistic traditions.
NCAI, NIEA, and I strongly support the Administration's and
Congress' efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA). Perhaps nowhere in the country will the impact of this
reauthorization be more beneficial than in Indian Country. We were
excited to hear Secretary Duncan's testimony last week as he expressed
the Department's desire to move towards greater flexibility and local
control, as well as his affirmation of promoting promising practices
and focusing on disadvantaged students.
Indian education disparities
In comparison to their peers, American Indian and Alaska Native
children continue to fall behind in the educational and learning
achievements of their peers. The 2007 National Indian Education
Study\i\ indicated that in reading and math, American Indian and Alaska
Native students scored significantly lower than their peers in both
fourth and eighth grades. In fact, Native students were the only
students to show no significant progress in either subject since 2005.
Our students also face some of the highest high school dropout rates in
the country.\ii\ These discouraging trends need to be reversed.
Data for Indian students is often incomplete. There are a number of
reasons for this--including the need for oversampling, our remote
locations, and language barriers. However, some of the comparisons with
the non-Native population are quite disturbing (additional demographic
and statistical information provided in Appendix A):
70% of BIA-administered schools failed to satisfy No Child
Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress requirements in 2005.\iii\
American Indian and Alaska Native students were more
likely than students of other racial and ethnic groups to receive
services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Specifically, about 12% of American Indian and Alaska Native students
received IDEA services in 2003, compared to 8% of white, 11% of black,
8% of Hispanic, and 4% of Asian/Pacific Islander students.\iv\
Only 44.6% of American Indian males and 50% of American
Indian females graduated with a regular diploma in the 2003--04 school
year.\v\
American Indians have a 15% higher chance of dropping out
of high school then white students.\vi\
The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)
reports that 74% of American Indian and Alaska Native twelfth graders
read below grade level, compared to 57 % of white twelfth graders.\vii\
Tribal governments believe that we are well positioned to address
many of these educational disparities. Unfortunately, tribes face many
challenges in providing the best educational opportunities for our
children.
On Indian reservations, there are three types of K-12 public school
systems: federal Bureau of Indian Affairs schools, tribal government
schools, and local county school districts. In some Indian communities,
all three school systems co-exist.
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is responsible for 184
elementary and secondary schools and 27 colleges. These institutions
are located on 63 reservations, spanning across 23 states; they educate
approximately 60,000 students. Schools that are not directly operated
by the BIE are run by individual federally recognized tribes with
grants or contracts from the BIE.
Tribal Education Departments (TED) are formal components of tribal
governments. Over 110 federally-recognized tribes have TEDs. Their
primary goal is to ensure that tribal students are receiving the same
opportunities that non-tribal students receive by coordinating federal,
state, and tribal resources for tribal students and implementing the
goals of the NCLB Act. TEDs improve educational opportunities for
tribal students by giving direction, advice, and assistance to local
schools through the development of education codes and analysis of
educational data and research. Funding for TEDs has been authorized
through the Department of the Interior since 1988 and through the
Department of Education since 1994; however, TEDs have never been
funded at an appropriate level.
Head Start Programs, particularly the Tribal Head Start and Early
Head Start Programs are vital to Indian Country. Approximately 38% of
all federally-recognized tribes have Head Start and/or Early Head Start
programs, which are reaching over 23,000 Indian children; Indian Head
Start plays a major role in educating and preparing Indian children for
academic success. They have a proven record of enhancing academic
readiness and self-esteem of Indian children, and provide a unique
opportunity to enhance cultural pride and knowledge through the
promotion of tribal values and tribal language immersion programs.
Tribally controlled colleges and universities (TCUs) share many
characteristics that differentiate them other secondary institutions.
TCUs are intended to foster environments focused on American Indian and
Alaska Native culture by creating learning opportunities that preserve,
enhance, and promote Native language and traditions. Some TCUs function
as community resources, providing social services to isolated and
remote reservation areas. Currently, there are 34 TCUs. TCUs are
essential in providing educational opportunities and environments for
Native students to pursue advanced degrees in settings that are
comfortable and familiar and at an affordable cost.
Indian education is a Federal responsibility
We must be clear: specifically addressing the needs of American
Indians and Alaska Natives within the reauthorization of the ESEA is
not akin to providing requirements for reducing education disparities
or considering the needs of ethnically diverse populations. While we
may fall into those target populations as well, the significant
difference is that providing education to American Indians and Alaska
Natives is a federal obligation because of the unique legal status of
Indian people. When Indian tribes ceded certain lands--lands which now
constitute the United States--agreements were made between tribes and
the United States government that established a trust''
responsibility for the safety and well-being of Indian peoples in
perpetuity. In addition, a number of treaties specifically outlined the
provision of education, nutrition, and health care. Therefore, the
federal trust responsibility for American Indian and Alaska Native
education must be recognized in all education policies.
At the same time, as United States citizens, American Indians and
Alaska Natives should have opportunities equal to those of other
citizens to participate in the benefits of all programs and services
offered within the reauthorization. While it may be tempting for
Congress to dismiss tribal recommendations, due to their complex
nature, I assure you they are needed. The Indian education system is
invisible to most Americans, but it does, and it must, interface with
federal and state education systems. We understand what is needed to
assure that educational reform reaches and benefits Indian Country, and
ask that you take the time to understand how both the federal trust
responsibility and mainstream education can work in tandem for Indian
people. We are committed to work with you in any way we can. To that
end, we offer the following specific comments.
Framework for inclusion of Indian country
Over the last few weeks, tribal leaders have spoken about the
challenges facing our Indian education system at a number of venues--
Congressional briefing sessions, meetings with the Domestic Policy
Council, and most recently on a call with Secretary Duncan. At each of
these, key principles and themes have emerged, which I share with the
Committee today. NCAI and NIEA are working with tribal leaders from
across the nation to transform these principles into our National
Tribal Priorities for Indian Education. We are looking forward to
sharing the specific details with the Committee in the coming weeks.
1) Strengthening Tribal Control in Education. Tribes are
overwhelmingly supportive of local control over education. For Indian
Country, this means fully recognizing the status of our tribal
education departments (TEDs) as formal components of our tribal
governments and affording them the same status as State Education
Agencies (SEA) in tribal geographic territories.
2) Increased Coordination between the Department of Education and
the Bureau of Indian Education. Indian education must be viewed as an
integrated system, with our students moving in and out of public,
tribally-run, and BIE schools. As such, there must be a coordinated
effort between the agencies that are responsible for providing Indian
education.
3) Focus on Recruitment and Retention of Native Teachers. There is
no greater influence on student learning than the quality of the
teacher. Indian schools are significantly disadvantaged in their effort
to recruit skilled Native teachers. Uncompetitive salaries, remote
locations, and lack of housing are but some of the challenges our
tribal governments are facing. Tribal leaders are calling for an
increased focus on recruiting and retaining Native educators, as well
as providing professional development and support for teachers in
schools with significant Native populations.
4) Long Term Investment in Cultural Based Education. By definition,
Cultural Based Education (CBE) is a teaching model that encourages
quality instructional practices rooted in cultural and linguistically
relevant context. For Native communities, this includes teaching our
Native language, but it also means incorporating traditional cultural
characteristics and teaching strategies that are harmonious with Native
cultural and contemporary ways of knowing. We know that our students
perform better academically when they have a sense of pride and self-
esteem, and CBE provides this vital foundation. We recognize however
that there is little quantitative data to point to, so tribes are
calling for CBE to be a identified as a promising practice in Indian
education and for programs to be funded over a period of five years so
we can effectively build an evidence base that conclusively
distinguishes what works for which populations and under what
circumstances.
Tribal consultation
Lastly, I would like to mention the importance of tribal
consultation. A unique Government-to-Government relationship exists
between federally-recognized Indian tribes and the Federal Government.
This relationship is grounded in numerous treaties, statutes, and
executive orders as well as political, legal, moral, and ethical
principles. This relationship is not based upon race, but rather, is
derived the legal status of tribal governments. The Federal Government
has enacted numerous regulations that establish and define a trust
relationship with Indian tribes. An integral element of this
Government-to-Government relationship is that consultation occurs with
Indian tribes. President Obama recently re-affirmed this relationship
with an Executive Memorandum, which requires each federal agency to
develop a plan to implement consultation and coordination with Indian
tribal governments as required by Executive Order 13175.
The Department of Education (DoEd) has had little direct
consultation--or communication--with the Tribes. They have relied
almost exclusively on the National Advisory Council on Indian
Education, which unfortunately was not effectively utilized over the
years. As a result, the DoEd has neglected to take into consideration
the impact of legislation on our tribal schools. A recent example of
this oversight is the inability for our schools to receive much needed
funding through the Recovery Act's Stabilization Funds or the DoEd's
new Race to the Top initiative. Through the new EO, we are looking
forward to a direct, productive relationship between our tribal
governments and the Department.
Conclusion
In closing, I would like to remind the Committee that whatever form
the reauthorization of ESEA takes, it is important that tribal
students, whether they attend a Bureau of Indian Education funded
school, a state public school, or a tribally run school, are served by
all of the ESEA programs, and must be specifically considered.
Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today; and thank you
for making Indian children a priority. We look forward to sharing the
National Tribal Priorities for Indian Education'' with the Committee
in the following weeks. I am certain that our shared goal of improving
the education of Indian children can be fostered through the
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
appendix a
education profile of american indian and alaska native students
Demographics
American Indian and Alaska Native students make up 1.2% of
public school students nationally.\viii\
There are approximately 644,000 American Indian and Alaska
Native students in the U.S. K-12 system.\ix\
About 93% of all American Indian and Alaska Native
students attend regular public schools and 7% attend schools
administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.\x\
States where American Indian and Alaska Native students
compose the largest proportions of the total student populations
included: Alaska (27 %), Oklahoma (19 %), Montana, New Mexico, and
South Dakota (11 % each).\xi\
School Profiles
52% of American Indian and Alaska Native students attended
schools in the 2003--04 school year where half or fewer of the students
were white.\xii\
54% of American Indian and Alaska Native eighth graders
attend schools where more than half of the students are eligible for
free or reduced-price lunch.\xiii\
In the 2002--03 school year, the average American Indian
and Alaska Native student attended a school where 39% of the students
were poor, while the average white student attended a school where only
23% were poor.\xiv\
70% of BIA-administered schools failed to satisfy No Child
Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress requirements in 2005.\xv\
In public schools with high American Indian and Alaska
Native enrollment, only 16% of teachers are American Indian and Alaska
Native.\xvi\
Preparedness, Graduation and Dropouts
The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports
that 44% of American Indian and Alaska Native eighth graders read below
grade level, compared to 16% of white eighth graders.\xvii\
The national graduation rate for American Indian high
school students was 49.3% in the 2003--04 school year, compared to
76.2% for white students.\xviii\
Only 44.6% of American Indian males and 50% of American
Indian females graduated with a regular diploma in the 2003--04 school
year.\xix\
American Indians have a 15% higher chance of dropping out
of high school then white students.\xx\
American Indian and Alaska Native high school students who
graduated in 2000 were less likely to have completed a core academic
track than their peers from other racial/ethnic groups.\xxi\
NAEP reports that 74 % of American Indian and Alaska
Native twelfth graders read below grade level, compared to 57 % of
Special and Gifted Students
American Indian and Alaska Native students were more
likely than students of other racial and ethnic groups to receive
services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Specifically, about 14% of American Indian and Alaska Native students
received IDEA services in 2006, compared to 8% of white, 11% of black,
8% of Hispanic, and 5% of Asian/Pacific Islander students.\xxiii\
About 20 % of students at BIA schools receive special
education services.\xxiv\
American Indian and Alaska Native students are 1.53 times
more likely to receive special education services for specific learning
disabilities and are 2.89 times more likely to receive such services
for developmental delays than the combined average of all other racial
groups.\xxv\
15% of American Indian and Alaska Native eighth graders
were categorized as students with disabilities in 2005, meaning they
had or were in the process of receiving Individualized Education Plans,
compared to 9% of all non--American Indian and Alaska Native eighth
endnotes
\i\ Freeman, C. and Fox, M. (2005). Status and trends in the
education of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Washington, DC:
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education
(NCES 2005-108).
\ii\ Id.
\iii\ U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. BIA Funded School Adequate
Yearly Progress 2004--2005. http://www.oiep.bia.edu/ (accessed June 15,
2007).
\iv\ Freeman, C. and Fox, M. (2005). Status and trends in the
education of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Washington, DC:
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education
(NCES 2005-108).
\v\ Id.
\vi\ Freeman, C. and Fox, M. (2005). Status and trends in the
education of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Washington, DC:
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education
(NCES 2005-108).
\vii\ The nation's report card: Twelfth-grade reading and
mathematics 2008 (NCES 2009-468). Washington, DC: Government Printing
Office.
\viii\ Id.
\ix\ Id.
\x\ Id.
\xi\ Id.
\xii\ Orfield, G., and C. Lee. 2005. Why segregation matters:
Poverty and educational inequality. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights
Project at Harvard University.
\xiii\ National Indian education study, Part II: The educational
experiences of fourth and eighth-grade American Indian and Alaska
Native students (NCES 2007-454). Washington, DC: Government Printing
Office.
\xiv\ Orfield, G., and C. Lee. 2005. Why segregation matters:
Poverty and educational inequality. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights
Project at Harvard University.
\xv\ U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. BIA Funded School Adequate
Yearly Progress 2004--2005. http://www.oiep.bia.edu/ (accessed June 15,
2007).
\xvi\ Manuelito, K. 2003. Building a native teaching force:
Important considerations. Charleston, WV: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural
Education (ERIC ED482324).
\xvii\ U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education
Statistics. 2008. The nation's report card: Reading 2008 (NCES 2009-
451). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
\xviii\ Editorial Projects in Education [EPE]. 2007. Diplomas count
2007: Ready for what? Preparing students for college, careers, and life
after high school. Special issue, Education Week 26, no. 5.
\xix\ Id.
\xx\ Freeman, C. and Fox, M. (2005). Status and trends in the
education of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Washington, DC:
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education
(NCES 2005-108).
\xxi\ Id.
\xxii\ The nation's report card: Twelfth-grade reading and
mathematics 2005 (NCES 2007-468). Washington, DC: Government Printing
Office.
\xxiii\ Freeman, C. and Fox, M. (2008). Status and trends in the
education of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Washington, DC:
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education
(NCES 2005-108).
\xxiv\ U.S. General Accounting Office. 2001. BIA and DOD schools:
Student achievement and other characteristics often differ from public
schools' (GAO-01-934). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
\xxv\ U.S. Department of Education. Office of Special Education
Programs. 2004. Twenty-sixth annual report to Congress on the
implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
2004, Vol. 1. Washington, DC.
\xxvi\ National Indian education study, Part II: The educational
experiences of fourth and eighth-grade American Indian and Alaska
Native students (NCES 2007-454). Washington, DC: Government Printing
Office.
______

Chairman Kildee. Thank you, Dr. Gipp.
Ms. Diaz? Is your----

STATEMENT OF ARELIS DIAZ, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF
CURRICULUM/INSTRUCTION AND HUMAN RESOURCES, GODWIN HEIGHTS
PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Ms. Diaz. Good morning, Mr. Kildee, Ranking Member Castle,
and Mr. Ehlers, members of the subcommittee. It is an honor to
be here, and I appreciate your time.
In my immigrant experience, having immigrant parents and
being a first-generation American, I was really interested in
working with ELL learners, and I wanted to share some of the
successes we have had at Godwin Heights public schools with
you, things that could be replicated easily and throughout the
United States.
When I started my principalship in 2000, only 50 percent of
our students were meeting or exceeding reading and writing
goals, 46 percent in math, and only 6 percent in social
studies. We knew we had to do something very quickly.
Some of the things we were able to do was analysis of data.
This is like the GPS of education. We need to know where we are
going with data, and data analysis provides that for us. It
gives us that ability to do so.
Teachers need to know how to look at data and analyze data.
They need to be given the time to do so during the school day,
with gaining substitutes, works very effectively.
It needs to be done in teams by grade level, and it also
needs to be documented. That work needs to be documented. It
needs to go to the school improvement team, and goals need to
be met based on the data analysis.
The professional learning communities that we have
implemented in our district has incorporated the sharing of
instructional practices that work. It is really moved teachers
from isolation to collaboration, really increasing the
achievement in all of our groups, including the English-
language learners.
The school improvement team goals, before you leave for a
road trip, it is similar to checking your engine, the oil, your
tire pressure. What it does is it lets you know that things are
in order.
The ideal time to do the school improvement team goals is
really in the spring for the fall, if possible. Team members
need to be represented by every grade level, ELL teachers,
reading teachers. There needs to be a good representation of
the school and the school improvement team.
The yearly goals need to be based on the data analysis that
takes place. They need to be measurable and specific, and we
need to be able to incorporate that in the teacher evaluation
process. Oftentimes, that is missing. And principals need to be
sure to look for those school improvement team goals in the
observations and reflect on that through the evaluation
process.
Parent involvement is enormous. We need to include all of
our parents. When you are dealing with a community of diverse
parents and they are surrounded by poverty, it does create a
challenge for us, but they need to feel welcome, they need to
be embraced and educated.
One of the things that has been successful for our district
is family and family night, reading nights, math nights, where
we are specifically demonstrating, live demonstrations to
parents on how they can help their students with literacy and
skills and strategies. We also translate everything for the
families, Spanish, Vietnamese, Bosnian, whatever language is
represented, and we feed them. If you feed them, they will
come. And that is a very important part. And through title
money, we could also provide that.
Professional developments like rolling down the window and
getting fresh air when you are on a long road trip.
Professional development gives teachers a fresh outlook in
their education. It kind of eliminates the stagnant air, if you
will. With implementation plans and expectations clearly
outlined, professional development can make a tremendous
difference.
We need Title 3 funding that can provide resources for us
to educate the teachers that are working with English-language
learners, and it also provides activities for us for parents,
before and after school tutoring for students, which is extra
time and support, and programming after school for parents, as
well.
When you reach a destination, there is a sense of joy and
accomplishment. Results do that for educators. When you can
look back and see that your hard work has paid off, it makes a
tremendous difference. I have included longitudinal data, as
well.
Effective teaching can close the achievement gap. There is
absolutely no reason that we cannot do it. But when you have a
diverse population, it is twice as hard to do so, and we would
like you to acknowledge that.
We understand and welcome accountability, but there are
modifications that are necessary, and I have included a couple
of recommendations in my proposal. Thank you.
[The statement of Ms. Diaz follows:]

Prepared Statement of Arelis E. Diaz, Assistant Superintendent of
Curriculum/Instruction and Human Resources, Godwin Heights Public
Schools, Wyoming, MI

Good morning. Chairman Kildee, Ranking Member Castle, Mr. Ehlers,
and members of the subcommittee thank you for this opportunity to speak
to you today. I am Arelis Diaz, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum/
Instruction and Human Resources in Godwin Heights Public Schools
District located in Wyoming, Michigan. This work is quite dear to me
since I am a first generation American with hard working parents from
the Dominican Republic. I was raised in Puerto Rico and returned to the
states during my third grade year. My immigrant experience gave me a
desire to train for and teach diverse English Language Learners. I was
privileged to teach ELL students for 5 years, lead teachers primarily
as a principal for 5 years, and most recently have led instruction for
the district as a central office administrator for the last 5 years. I
am honored to share some of the work we have been successful with at
Godwin Heights over the past 10 years to improve instructional
practices and achieve positive academic gains in addressing the needs
of diverse students.
Background of Godwin Heights Public School District
Godwin Heights is an urban district located on the border of Grand
Rapids. We have experienced a great deal of diversity growth in the
past two decades. In 1995, I had 36 students in my English Language
Learners class whose native language was other than English. Fifteen
years later, although our students' prominent first language is still
Spanish, that same school has 155 ELL students who come from 16
different countries. The changes in poverty are similar. In 1995,
Godwin's community was comprised primarily of strong manufacturing
employees working at GM and Steelcase plants. Today, the GM plant has
closed and Steelcase is a skeleton of the healthy and hearty company it
used to be. As a result, 84% of our students now qualify for free and
reduced lunch.
Godwin Heights Public School District serves 2,212 students at our
3 elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one
alternative high school. All of our schools qualify for and receive
Title I Program funding. We also provide ELL and Special Education
services at all of the schools.
Changes in instructional practice--as principal
When I became principal of North Godwin Elementary School in 2000,
only 50% of our students were meeting or exceeding Michigan's Reading
and Writing expectation. Only 46% of our students satisfactorily passed
the Math assessment. Our Social Studies results were even worse--with
only 6% of our students meeting or exceeding expectations. Why were
some students making progress and others not? We had to face our brutal
facts--quickly!
I knew that facing our brutal facts meant looking at our data to
truly discover who was learning, what they were learning, when (what
grade level) they were learning it, how were we vertically aligning the
curriculum, and most importantly, why were some students not learning.
My mantra became we will do whatever it takes'' to effectively
educate all of our students! During my tenure as building principal, I
continuously focused on the following 5 principles:
Give teachers time to analyze past and present data
Develop specific and measurable School Improvement Team
goals (from data analysis)
Create a positive, efficacy-based culture--If you
believe it, you will see it. If you don't, you won't.''
Develop a continuous learning environment with book
studies and collaboration
Parent Involvement--embracing and educating them
Analyze past and present data:
Teachers need to be given time to be intentional about looking and
analyzing data. I was surprised to discover that most needed to be
taught how to analyze data. I found that teachers could not/should not
be expected to do this most important work on their own time.
Administrators needed to give them time and support. Providing this
time during the school day, by obtaining substitutes for their
classroom, works best in my experience. This process must be done in
teams, by grade levels and include the ELL and Special Education
educators with the administrator for optimum results. The findings must
be documented and shared with the School Improvement Team, then finally
with the rest of the staff members. Ownership of the achievement must
be embraced by every staff member in the building including custodians,
food service and paraprofessionals.
As I studied our data and compared it to our programming, there was
a glaring observation. Many more students needed more time and support
with literacy than we were providing. We were servicing a limited
number of students with Reading Recovery. Many more needed services. I
concluded that it was time for a literacy revolution!
The reading teacher and I made an executive decision to modify the
reading program to maximize the number of students that could be
serviced. We initiated our own program which we named the Backpack
Reader program and utilized the reading staff as a team that in
addition to the classroom teacher would go into every K-2nd grade
classroom daily. Every day students chose an appropriate level book to
read with a team member. During that time, the team provided mini
lessons and reading strategies. The student took the book home to read,
and a parent/guardian signed daily when they read with the student. The
book is brought back to school and read with a team member for the
third time. The students progress up in levels until they are reading
independently and can check out books on their own from the library.
The Backpack Reader program produced amazing results and increased
by the end of the year, including ELL and Special Education students.
School Improvement Team Goals:
The data analysis findings from each grade level must be presented
to the School Improvement Team (SIT). Since each team includes one
teacher representative from each grade level, an ELL teacher, a Special
Education teacher, an elective teacher representative and the Reading
teacher (if applicable), the analysis of the data is comprehensive. The
key to the success of this team is that the entire school is
represented and is part of the decision making process for the yearly
goals. This ensures that special populations are addressed.
The SIT then develops the yearly goals based on the data analysis.
Each goal has to be specific to every grade level and measurable by
marking period. For example, once we realized graphing skills were a
deficiency throughout our student population, we set a goal that every
grade level would include one graphing activity per marking period. We
were specific: 1st marking period would be a Social Studies graphing
activity, 2nd marking period would include a graph from the science
content, 3rd marking period from Language Arts and 4th from Math.
Integration of the subject areas was important and based on research,
for higher level learning and retention.
I then incorporated the SIT goals into my teacher evaluations.
During observations, I requested each teacher conduct a lesson that
easily identified and emphasized a SIT goal. This included ELL and
Special Education classrooms.
Create positive culture:
This is an area that is underestimated in schools. However, every
highly effective school that has overcome diverse challenges
understands that it is essential to believe that all students can learn
regardless of their individual needs.
During my principalship, I was intentional about creating a
positive culture. I implemented the FISH philosophy that focused on
being there for one another as staff members. That also included
supporting teachers when their student's demonstrated unacceptable
student behavior and following through with consistent corrective
discipline. Increasing and maintaining student achievement is hard
work. Teachers need to feel safe, empowered and appreciated.
Remembering birthdays with treats, sending Thanksgiving letters to
family members and notes of acknowledgement in mailboxes all helped in
establishing a positive climate.
Continuous Learning Environment:
It is enlightening to realize that most veteran teachers with
continuing certificates have not returned or taken a college credit
class since they graduated from college. The best way to learn new
strategies and be inspired by others is to read and study from them. I
introduced the staff to book studies, both at staff meetings and
afterschool. I read a chapter of The Essential 55 by Ron Clark to my
staff at every meeting and then we implemented its strategies for
diverse communities. They worked! Afterschool, we read There Are No
Shortcuts by Raffe Esquith, a teacher from inner city Los Angeles. The
success of his ELL students motivated us to go above and beyond.
Finally, I modified the schedule to provide each grade level common
collaboration time during the day. There was some resistance at the
beginning because traditionally teachers had always worked in isolation
as individual experts. However, as they started sharing activities,
lessons and strategies, that worked slowly. The collaborative teams
realized they each had individual natural strengths and weaknesses,
that they could help one another, primarily in the area of ELA/SS and
Math/Science. Then, vertical alignment started taking shape. As the
teams discussed gaps in learning, they realized they needed to talk
with the grade levels above and below them. Finally, they sought out
all of their resources, including the ELL and Special Education
teachers for assistance.
Parent Involvement:
When parents are surrounded with poverty, it complicates things for
educators. Our parents are working two and three jobs. When they are
sleeping, their children are in school. When they are awake and
working, their children are at home. And many do not know or understand
the English language. Parents need to feel welcomed into our school
environment and need to be educated on the importance of being involved
as a part of the school.
We initiated Family Reading and Math Nights where we demonstrated
strategies that parents could easily implement at home with commonly
used products. For example, we showed them that shaving cream is a
fantastic way to learn spelling or sight words. We translated
everything and we provided dinner every time because if you feed them,
they will come!
Remember the Backpack Reader program? This is a perfect example of
how we had to educate our parents. When we initiated this program, we
had very little support from the parents. They were not reading with
their children, not signing that they read with their children, and
failing to return the books. Instead of stopping the program, we
educated the parents instead by incorporating the importance of reading
into every opportunity we had: classroom newsletters, building-wide
newsletters, PTO meeting presentations, family nights, drop off and
pick up time, at breakfast, etc. It worked so well that by the end of
the year, the parents were calling us if the book was not in the
backpack!
The results? In 2005, when I left North Godwin for the Central
Office our achievement was simply outstanding. We were recognized as a
Top Performing School by the Just for the Kids Foundation. Our
students, including ELL and Special Education students, were and still
are, outperforming similar students throughout the state. 85% of
students met or exceeded state reading standards and 87% met or
exceeded state writing standards in 4th grade (compared to 50% in
2000). 75% of students met or exceeded state Social Studies standards
in 5th grade (compared to 6% in 2000).
Changes in instructional practice--as assistant superintendent
In 2005, I packed the lessons I had learned from being a principal
brought them to the Central Office.
Analyze past and present data:
I instituted district-wide early release once a month where
students are dismissed at 1:30 p.m. and teachers stay until 4:15 p.m.
for collaboration. It allows all teachers, including Special Education
and ELL teachers to collaborate not just as a building, but as a
district and we can align the curriculum vertically as well. The
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) philosophy and practice has
dramatically changed the way our educators teach and virtually
eliminated the teaching in isolation practices. Teachers are sharing
what works and modifying their instruction based on their discussions
with one another, and most importantly they are incorporating the SIT
goals. The result? Increased achievement for all students including
diverse subgroups.
School Improvement Team Goals:
At the district level, the school improvement team goals have to be
woven with the Board of Education goals. Our board has consistently
focused on improved reading goals. As the new curriculum leader for the
district, I knew what worked from my work at the building level. We had
to implement successful programs such as the Backpack Reader and
Accelerated Reader district wide at all three elementary buildings. We
provided training for all teachers and set minimum usage expectations
per grade level. On a weekly basis, I check the Accelerated Reader
Dashboard for individual teacher participation and success index (how
well the students performed on their reading quizzes) for all K-8
classrooms. Additionally, we incorporated another software component
specifically for ELL students that focuses on vocabulary building
called English in a Flash. The results have been increased reading
scores on the MEAP state assessment district wide for all students,
including our diverse subgroups.
Continuous Learning Environment:
Most recently, we have incorporated the Response to Intervention
(RtI) program in all of our schools. It has proven to be extremely
successful due to the daily intense, targeted lessons and the progress
monitoring built into the program. It has allowed us to identify the
foundational skills necessary for long term proficient readers. Prior
to RtI, our reading revolution produced good readers, but we noticed
that we saw a drop in third grade reading skills. We now realize,
thanks to RtI, that we were missing some steps in the continuum
critical to long term reading success. At any point in the school year,
we know exactly where all of our students are on the reading continuum.
As a result, we have seen a decrease in Special Education referrals.
When we analyzed our data, our ELL students needed more time and
support. District wide, we implemented before and/or afterschool
tutoring for our ELL students this school year, utilizing Title III
Immigrant Funds. We are focusing on targeted areas where they are not
meeting expectations in their content areas. Classroom teachers re-
teach lessons not mastered utilizing a variety of differentiation
strategies to master the content. The teachers have already provided
feedback that confirms the extra time and support is working. Pre and
post assessments prove that the students are obtaining mastery on a
weekly basis, simply by receiving more time and support.
Teachers and administrators also need time and support to maximize
their effectiveness. Although as a novice administrator, I sent
teachers to conferences and workshops as they requested, now I send
only teams of new teachers to a conference each year. The remainder of
our professional development practice involves:
1. Training all teachers (including ELL and Special Education
staff) at the same time
2. During the school day
3. Based on needs from data analysis
4. With an implementation plan and clear expectations articulated
and
5. With follow up training throughout the school year(s).
During the past several years our district's professional
development has focused on writing and literacy. We have discovered
that teachers working with consultants that come to our district for
building wide or district wide training is very effective; much more
effective than the singleton conference approach. For our
administrators, the professional development has focused on
instructional leadership versus management utilizing Marzano's
research. We emphasized that leadership is not about us as
Results, Reflections, and Recommendations:
I have attached our MEAP state assessment results from 2005 to the
present. Longitudinally, you will see that we have made significant
gains. Keep in mind that the growth has occurred during financially
troubling times of yearly budget cuts, yearly increases to our free and
reduced lunch counts, and a growing ELL population. This type of
achievement is not easy when you consider the expanding challenges
facing our district every year. However, what I have tried to explain
to you is that effective teaching can close the achievement gap in any
diverse group!
Now that I have made it perfectly clear that it can be done, allow
me to identify some recommendations that would assist us in the field
to continue to make it happen. Understanding that life is not fair,
please, please, please acknowledge the fact that districts with diverse
populations must work twice as hard to produce the results that are
expected. Consider for a moment a fourth grade teacher that welcomes
several new refugee or immigrant students into their classroom at the
beginning of the year. Even though the new students have no prior
knowledge of the English language, the teacher goes above or beyond to
teach the students on a daily basis. The school provides ELL, RtI Tier
1, 2 and 3 services, Backpack Reader, Accelerated Reader, Accelerated
Math, English in a Flash, before, lunch and after school tutoring. The
students make miraculous gains of 2 to 3 year gains * * * but they are
still at a second or third grade level! We understand and welcome
accountability, but modifications are necessary to acknowledge of
schools and students working hard to close the achievement gap.
As I have a special place in my heart for English Language Learners
(ELL), allow me to make three final recommendations for this
population:
Permit states to include growth in their accountability
systems, rewarding districts and schools who are making progress. This
is an important tool for measuring the success of English Language
Learners.
Increase resources for the Title III program to help
states and school districts provide English language instruction
programs for English Language Learners and provide more professional
development for the teachers working with these diverse learners.
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of the successes we
have enjoyed at Godwin Heights Public Schools. It is indeed a tribute
to all of the hard work and dedication of our excellent teaching and
staff members. You may contact me at [email protected] with any
further questions.
______

Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much.
Dr. Kearns?

STATEMENT OF JACQUI FARMER KEARNS, ED.D., PRINCIPAL
INVESTIGATOR, NATIONAL ALTERNATE ASSESSMENT CENTER

Ms. Kearns. Thank you, Chairman Kildee, Ranking Member
Castle, and all the members of the subcommittee for inviting me
to testify this morning.
I am here today to discuss the importance of including all
students with disabilities fully and equitably in assessment
and accountability systems. I am fortunate to work in
collateral with nationally recognized experts in education,
measurement and curriculum to regularly review and discuss the
research in this area.
Currently, students with disabilities participate in
accountability systems in one of four ways: general assessment;
general assessments with accommodations; alternate assessments
on modified achievement standards in a few states, the 2
percent test; and alternate assessments on alternate
achievement standards, the 1 percent test.
Eighty-five percent of students identified under the IDEA
do not have intellectual disabilities that should prevent them
from achieving at grade level. They should participate in
general assessments with or without accommodations.
A number of states have conducted an analysis of their
general assessment data by identifying learners who are
persistently low performing. Over and over again, states have
been surprised to find that this group includes both students
with and without disabilities. These students are more likely
to be male, represent a minority, economically disadvantaged
students, or have a disability.
Unfortunately, many students represent all these
characteristics. There is a chart representing these data in my
written testimony.
Teachers at schools that have successfully closed the
achievement gap for these students include the following:
alignment of curricula with state standards, inclusion of
students with disabilities in general education classes with
appropriate support, and use of student assessment data to
inform decision-making.
For the purposes of system accountability, we absolutely
need to know where every student is in relation to the
standards of their enrolled grade on a summit of assessment.
For other purposes, including diagnostic and instructional
planning on interim, benchmark or formative basis, we may find
other tests helpful, but care has to be taken not to lower the
expectations or academic targets.
It is true that some students with disabilities who are
among the students who can attain grade-level achievement are
most challenging to assess. This group includes children with
hearing and vision disabilities, but also some students with
learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities.
Consider Lizzie, a young lady with a severe learning
disability. She comprehends on grade level, but needs
accommodations to demonstrate her knowledge, yet accommodations
for reading are not allowed for the test in her state. None of
the current state assessment options can produce a valid set of
results to accurately represent her achievement level.
Consider Megan, a student with Down syndrome, an
quality instruction, individualized support and services, and
the opportunity to learn from the general curriculum, she
graduated from high school with a standard diploma in a state
with high standards and is attending college.
Career and college-ready achievement is well within the
reach for students like Megan. Our obligation is to ensure that
she and others like her are prepared to reach these goals. ESEA
should continue to ensure that schools are accountable for the
academic achievement and graduation rates of all students,
including students with intellectual disabilities.
Other students with intellectual disabilities participate
in alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards.
This is the 1 percent test. It may surprise you to learn that
the largest group of these students with the most significant
cognitive disabilities, about 70 percent, can communicate, read
sight words, and solve math problems with a calculator. I have
included a chart representing these data in my written
testimony before you.
Consider Bruce. Bruce is a student with significant
disabilities. Bruce is not provided with assistive technology
to communicate until late in high school. In the video clip,
you will see that Bruce is answering questions about predicted
and actual temperature within days of receiving his device.
[Begin video.]
Voice. Let's look at October 20th. Were the forecasted and
actual temperatures high, low or about the same?
Voice. The forecasted and the actual temperatures were the
same.
Voice. Very good. Now, look at these forecasted
temperatures. Okay? Looking at them? How many days was the
forecasted temperature higher than the actual temperature?
[End video.]
Ms. Kearns. Low expectations and segregation have denied
Bruce access to the general curriculum. Sadly, he will exit
this school this year without a high school diploma, greatly
limiting the opportunities available to him. Bruce's story
illustrates a classic example of the failure of the IEP team
and why access to the general curriculum is so important.
We continue to hold schools accountable for all these
students. The challenge of high expectations is being met in
many places with leadership and hard work. In large part
because federal law has required transparency and
accountability for all students, children with disabilities are
showing us what they know and can do, often exceeding our
expectations. We must continue to hold schools accountable for
the education of all students. Their futures depend on it.
Thank you.
[The statement of Ms. Kearns follows:]

Prepared Statement of Jacqui Farmer Kearns, Ed.D., Principal
Investigator, National Alternate Assessment Center, U.S. Department of
Education

Thank you Chairman Kildee, Ranking Member Castle and all the
Members of the Subcommittee for inviting me to testify this morning
I am currently the Principal Investigator for the US Department of
Education Office of Special Education Programs funded National
Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC), a research center on alternate
assessments, and a General Supervision Enhancement Grant assisting five
states in developing validity evaluations for their alternate
assessments on alternate achievement standards at the University of
Kentucky. I have completed three other federal research initiatives
about alternate assessment and universally designed, technology-based
general assessments. In the early 1990's, I played a key role in the
design and implementation of the first alternate assessment used in an
accountability system during Kentucky's Education Reform Act (KERA).
When the IDEA was reauthorized in 1997 and included the provision for
alternate assessment, I assisted a number of states in the design,
implementation, and evaluation of alternate assessments as Associate
Director of a university-based assessment design group at the
University of Kentucky. I have authored and co-authored research
publications including the first text on alternate assessment and, more
recently, a new text on alternate assessment and standards-based
instruction. I have extensive experience in providing professional
development support to teachers serving students with significant
cognitive disabilities and to principals regarding the implementation
of inclusive education and access to the general curriculum. I am a
third generation educator, with 9 years of direct classroom experience
teaching students with significant cognitive disabilities. Finally, I
am the parent of a child recently diagnosed with Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder, who received services through Response to
Intervention (RTI) through his second grade year and has been referred
for evaluation under the IDEA. However, in my testimony this morning, I
am representing myself, and not the University of Kentucky or the
multiple projects on which I work.
Today's Focus. I am here today to discuss the importance of
including ALL students with disabilities fully and equitably in
assessment and accountability systems. These systems must include
challenging content standards, progress and proficiency measures,
participation, and data reporting. To do otherwise, places the entire
population at risk for a variety of serious consequences as they leave
school unprepared for the educated world that waits them. I have
brought with me some students whose stories will help us understand the
complexities of the issues that face us. I will describe the challenges
and possible solutions for students with disabilities who are
persistently low performers'' and lessons learned from schools who
have successfully closed the achievement gap. Next, I will introduce
Lizzie, a student with a learning disability. Lizzie teaches us the
importance of designing solutions for assessments that accommodate the
widest array of possible users, so students can show what they know and
can do. Megan reminds us that high expectations can result in students
who can and o exceed our expectations. Finally, Bruce a student in an
alternate assessment teaches us that IEP teams can't do it by
themselves. My area of expertise is alternate assessments and students
like Bruce. I am fortunate to work in collaboration in collaboration
with national special education, measurement, and curriculum experts.
How Do Students with Disabilities Participate in Accountability?
Currently, students with disabilities participate in the
accountability system in one of four ways: 1) general assessments, 2)
general assessments with accommodations, 3) alternate assessments on
modified achievement standards, and 4) alternate assessments on
alternate achievement standards. Eighty-five percent (85%) of students
identified under the IDEA do not have intellectual disabilities that
should prevent them from achieving at grade level. This includes
students with learning disabilities, who comprise nearly half of the
IDEA population, as well as students with physical disabilities, vision
and hearing impairments, emotional and behavioral disabilities, and
even some students with mild cognitive impairments.
Persistently Low Performing. A number of states considering the 2%
flexibility have conducted an analysis of their general assessment data
by identifying learners who are persistently low performing'' (Gong,
Marion, & Simpson, 2006). Over and over again, states have been
surprised to find that this group of persistently low performers
includes BOTH students with and without disabilities. Furthermore,
these students are disproportionately representative of males,
minorities and disadvantaged as identified by Free and Reduced lunch,
as well as students with disabilities (Lazarus, Wu, C., Altman, &
Thurlow, 2010). Researchers from the National Center on Educational
Outcomes presented the data from five states considering these
students. The charts in Figure 1 illustrate these data.

As the layers of the data unfold, researchers have discovered that
many of these students have not had access to high quality curriculum
or instruction. Meanwhile, schools across the nation ARE CLOSING THE
ACHIEVEMENT GAP for historically low-performing students with and
without disabilities--through leadership and hard work to improve their
educational opportunities. From these data, and similar data from other
investigations it is clear that providing accountability relief'' to
schools for these students with disabilities while other schools can
and do help these students achieve is unwarranted and counterproductive
for inclusive accountability policy.
Studies of Low Performing Students. States have studied the extent
which students with disabilities are low performing students, in an
effort to design alternate assessments based upon modified achievement
standards for the 2% flexibility that is currently allowed under the
ESEA regulations (Fincher, 2007; HB Study Group from Colorado, 2005;
Marion, Gong, & Simpson, 2006; New England Compact, 2007). Researchers
at the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment
(NCIEA) conducted one the first of these investigations. These
researchers found that the scores of students with disabilities were
distributed all across the scaled scores, as are the students without
disabilities. (Marion, Gong, & Simpson, 2006). This study foreshadowed
results of studies in multiple states: the lowest performing students
on state assessments under NCLB are not only, or even primarily,
students with disabilities. Perie (2009) summarized data mining
approaches in Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia mined data from three
years of the state test, identifying persistent low performers in
grades 5 and 8 as students scoring in the lowest of three achievement
levels. South Carolina looked at grades 4 and 7, identifying students
with two years of data scoring in the lowest of four achievement
levels. In both states, the percentage of students with disabilities
represented 39% to 55% of all students in the lowest achievement
levels, adjusting for variations in test cut scores.
Closing the Achievement Gap. Current accountability definitions
require that schools ensure that students with disabilities achieve
proficiency through access to the same challenging curriculum as their
peers. Schools that are succeeding have recognized the importance of
integrating the content standards into a challenging curriculum for all
students, and providing access to students with disabilities through
individualized and appropriate services, supports, and accommodations
identified by the Individualized Education Program team so that each
student can be successful.
Special education as typically practiced in this country has
level is an essential component of accountability that cannot be
understated. A new study by Morgan, Frisco, Farkas, and Hibel (2010)
found that students who were identified for special education services
had significantly lower reading achievement after receiving those
services from 2002-2004 than their peers with similar learning and
demographic characteristics who did not receive special education
services. The National Association of School Psychologists (2002) has
found that labeling of students tends to result in lowered
expectations, fewer typical peer relationships, and a lack of
curriculum integrity.
We have examples of how system accountability the past decade has
resulted in significant reductions of the achievement gap between
students with and without disabilities in schools where special
education practice has changed. An Association of Curriculum
Development Association (ASCD) longitudinal study of schools in Rhode
Island found that 100 of the 320 schools had show a dramatic closing of
the achievement gap by students with disabilities (Hawkins, 2007). The
2004 Donahue Institute study and the 2009 Ohio Follow up Study on
Students with Disabilities had similar findings. Indeed, closing the
achievement gap between children with and without disabilities is an
articulated goal in schools across the country, although some school
leaders continue to resist taking responsibility for these students.
Features of these schools that have successfully closed the achievement
gap include the following: 1) alignment of curricula with the state
standards, 2) inclusion of students with disabilities in general
education classes with appropriate supports, 3) use of student
assessment data to inform decision-making, 4) disciplined social
environment, and 5) strong leadership teams (Hawkins, 2007; Pritchard
Committee, 2005).
It is important to note that schools that have achieved the goal of
closing the achievement gap for their sub-groups including those with
disabilities have done so in part by changing the way they think about
the children who challenge our educational system. They did not seek
relief'' from accountability or lower their expectations for student
achievement.
Students Who are Challenging to Assess. Some students with
disabilities who are among the students who can attain the grade-level
achievement are challenging to assess. This group includes children
with hearing and vision disabilities, but also some students with
learning disabilities.
Consider Lizzie. Lizzie is a middle school student who has
a severe learning disability that affects her ability to read. Despite
intensive efforts to improve her reading, her conventional reading
skills are still well below grade-level achievement. However, her
comprehension of oral text is well within grade-level achievement and
will be a strength on which she builds toward college and career
readiness for a lifetime. Accommodations for reading are not allowed
for the test in her state. Test day is extremely frustrating for Lizzie
and her teachers. Providing an out-of-level grade assessment which
measures conventional reading but does not measure comprehension
commensurate with her grade will NOT provide an accurate assessment of
her performance. The resulting data will not encourage her teachers to
build the skills she needs for her future.
Assessment Options. As the description of Lizzie illustrates, none
of the current state assessment options would have produced a valid set
of results to accurately represent her achievement level. The State has
not provided adequate accommodations policy to meet her needs. An out
of level assessment, or even a self-leveling assessment, would not
appropriately demonstrate her performance.
For a variety of reasons, a one-size-fits-all approach will likely
never have the precision to assess the widest array of possible
students. For the purposes of SYSTEM accountability we absolutely need
to know where students are in relation to the standards at their
enrolled grade on a summative assessment. For OTHER purposes, including
diagnostic and instructional planning on an interim, benchmark or
formative basis, we may find other tests helpful, but care has to be
taken to avoid lowering expectations and academic targets.
Use of Accommodations. The research on the use of accommodations
during assessment is increasingly more sophisticated and refined
(Thompson, Morse, Sharp, & Hall, 2005). The use of accommodations
during assessments should be built on the foundational assumption that
students with disabilities must be expected to demonstrate achievement
in the same content as other students and thus the content targets
should not be changed by the accommodations, accommodations used in
assessment should also be used during instructional assessment as a
matter of practice, and that accommodations decisions are specific to
individual students. Accommodations should be used consistently and the
use of them and the need for them evaluated regularly. Ultimately, the
use of an accommodation should not prevent the student from mastering
the content or limit the student's pathway to learning future content
(Thompson, Morse, Sharp, & Hall, 2005). Finally, deep understanding of
the content is essential for making appropriate accommodations
decisions.
Growth Model Designs. We often hear teachers comment he has grown
so much over the year'' and the assumption is to measure that growth
for these populations. No doubt the teacher's observations are
reliable, but the assumptions about using a growth model'' design to
measure this must consider the variety of pathway that defines progress
across the widest array of student users. Growth model designs are
based on the theoretical assumptions of norm referenced assessments.
Most students with disabilities were not included in normative samples
(Hill, Gong, Marion, DePasquale, Dunn, & Simpson, 2005). An accurate
description of the pathway to academic competence is an essential
component of growth model'' assessment designs (Betebenner, 2005;
Hill, Gong, Marion, DePasquale, Dunn & Simpson 2005). This is because
for most students with disabilities like those described today,
something is missing from the pathway that we need to understand in
order to build a fully valid growth model assessment. In many states,
research suggests that this missing piece is effective instruction and
access to the curriculum. Still, we know that we do NOT know all we
should about how to ensure students like Lizzie can first learn and
then show what they have learned on state tests. This is also true for
students with significant cognitive disabilities in AA-AAS who take
alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards where less
evidence to support the curricular pathway exists.
Career and College Ready. According to the National Transition
Technical Assistance Center data, the predictors of post secondary
education for students with disabilities depends to a large extent on
the following factors: 1) participation in the academic curriculum, 2)
performance in reading, writing, and math, 3) placement in general
education 4) high school diploma (Baer, 2002; Raybren, 2005). As would
be expected, similar factors are predictors of post school employment.
Intellectual Disabilities. Of the students with disabilities who DO
have intellectual disabilities, some CAN achieve grade-level
proficiency when given high quality instruction, individualized
supports and services, and the opportunity to learn.
Consider Megan. Megan graduated from high school with a
standard diploma and is attending college. She has a disability
commonly known as Down syndrome which is a chromosomal condition that
typically but not always results in an intellectual disability.
If you are tempted to suggest that the standards for attaining a
high school diploma must be low in her state, I assure you that the
current graduation and drop-out rates in her state do not support that
claim. The purpose of this example, is to challenge our understanding
and beliefs about what students with intellectual disabilities given
the right supports and expectations for achievement
Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities. The
students with intellectual disabilities, who participate in alternate
assessments on alternate achievement standards, represent at least two
distinct groups of learners. We know that 70% of students participating
in alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards can
communicate, read basic sight words, and solve math problems with a
calculator (Towles-Reeves, Kleinert, Kleinert, Thomas, in press) often
beginning in elementary school.
figure 2: reading and math characteristics of students in aa-aas

The remaining 30% of this 1% of students in the AA-AAS do not use
oral speech to communicate or in some rare cases respond
inconsistently. Furthermore, more than half do not have augmentative
communication systems. Of all the groups, we agree that this group is
the most challenging to assess. However, vigilance is warranted because
many students in this group have not received the services they need to
communicate. This misidentification and failure of service is tragic
but sadly not uncommon.
Consider Bruce. Bruce a high school student who has
cerebral palsy who does not use oral speech. His IEP team determined
that he had an intellectual disability. He was dropped from speech/
language therapy as a related service due to failure to make progress
in using oral speech''. He received educational services in a
segregated class for students with significant intellectual
disabilities with limited to no access to the general curriculum. A new
teacher recognized that Bruce had not been appropriately identified or
served, and requested the assistance of speech/language external to the
school and district. As a result, Bruce received a touch screen
computer with voice output communication device. In the video clip, you
will see that Bruce is answering questions about predicted and actual
temperature within days of receiving his device.
From his performance, it is clear that a series of unfortunate
errors and low expectations from the IEP team across a number of years
has reduced his ability to communicate, and thus has denied him access
to the general curriculum. Sadly, Bruce will exit school this year
without a high school diploma which will gravely limit the
opportunities available to him after high school. Bruce's story
illustrates a classic example of the failure of the IEP team. IEP teams
are limited by the knowledge they have available to them and the extent
to which they access to high quality professional development and
technical assistance. In most cases, neither professional development
or technical assistance is available. Further, shift in system
accountability to the IEP team would seriously threaten productive
home/school partnerships and increase the probability of due process
procedures, attorney involvement, and litigation. If the only place to
ensure the system is accountable for a child is through the IEP team
process, then all parents will bear a terrible burden to ensure THEIR
child benefits from a free appropriate education under IDEA. The
research on the quality of the IEP team processes and outcomes suggests
that, instead, parents will have to accept what schools choose to
offer, regardless of what their child needs to be successful (Hunt &
Goetz, 1989; Turner, Baldwin, Kleinert, & Kearns; 1997). Bruce's story
illustrates this problem. For these reasons, we believe that the IEP is
not a viable option as an accountability tool.
Alternate Achievement Standards. Students in alternate assessments
on alternate achievement standards are among the most diverse of the
assessed populations and the least is known about how they achieve
competence in academic domains and the curricular pathways to academic
competence. As described previously, the students who are emerging in
their language development may require a different set of achievement
expectations until consistent responding and engagement can be
established. More than one alternate achievement standard is currently
allowed under the 1% regulation, and that option should be continued to
meet the needs of these students-. While we continue to build the
knowledge base around these instruments, maintaining the flexibility
for setting multiple achievement standards for these assessments is
warranted., Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities
should continue to be engaged in reading, math, and science activities
based on content standards that that are chronologically age
appropriate, linked to grade-level content, and consistent with what
peers without disabilities are learning. This least dangerous
assumption (Donnellan, 1984; Jorgensen, 2005) will safeguard their
learning opportunities until more data are available.
Academic Content Standards Linkage. Earlier in this testimony, I
reported data indicating that the majority of students (70%) in
alternate assessments read sight words and solve math problems with a
calculator (Kearns et. al. in press). Our data also suggest that the
percentages of students performing these skills across the grade bands
from elementary to high school do not appear to change much. While
these data are not longitudinal, we would expect increased percentages
of more difficult skills as students advance through the grades and
decreased percentages of easier skills as students advance through the
grades. These data suggest that performance may be essentially static,
meaning that limited progress is made beyond elementary school (Kearns
et. al). Despite the growing number of studies pointing to the
effectiveness teaching students in this population academic content
reading, math, and science (Browder,Wakeman, Y.Spooner, Ahlgrim-
Delzell, & Algozzine, (2006); Browder, Spooner, Ahlgirm-Delzell,
Wakeman, & Harris, (2008); Courtade, Spooner, & Browder, (2007); many
continue to argue for functional skills. To counter that argument,
Kleinert, Collins, Wickham, Riggs, & Hagar (in press) suggest that
these skills are best embedded into naturally occurring routines across
the student's day alongside academic instruction.
We recommend vigilance in maintaining a close linkage to grade-
level academic content standards and consideration of achievement
standards that mirror the highest achievement standard possible for
this group of students.
Career & College Ready. As yet, limited data are available on
extent to which students who participate in alternate assessments are
prepared to transition from school to adult life. Current post school
outcome data define a positive outcome as fully time enrollment in post
secondary education or full-time employment. Few students in the 1%
population achieve full-time employment or post secondary education
(Newman, Wagner, Cameto, & Knokey, 2009; Wagner, Newman, Cameto,
Levine, & Gazar, 2006). As a result, little is known about their post
school outcomes. However, a Kentucky study in progress will consider
the student interview data among students who participate in an
alternate assessment for the ACT to describe current outcomes. The
Kentucky Transition Attainment Record (TAR) includes transition student
and IEP team interviews. Kearns, LoBianco, & Harrison (in preparation)
found that the majority of these students plan to receive special
education services through age 21. Roughly, two thirds of these
students plan to have full or part time jobs and have identified
supported employment as an important transition support. This figure
compares to the majority of students in this population who read sight
words and solve math problems with a calculator. An additional one
third of students checked stay at home'', which also compares to the
percentage of students who are pre and emerging symbolic language
users.
The majority of these students selected job interests related to
working with children, animals, or food service. When asked what they
would like to learn more about in school, the most selected responses
were 1) computers, 2) work experience, and 3) music and arts. These
responses were followed by academic goals of reading, math and science.
While these data are very preliminary, the Kentucky Department of
Education has authorized a study to merge these data with other student
assessment and transition data sources to provide a more complete
picture of the transition outcomes for these students.
We want to build a vision that post secondary education is an
option for all students including those with intellectual disabilities.
Programs like Think College at Boston College or the Transition Program
at Asbury College in Kentucky are making post secondary educational
opportunities available to these students. Increasing post secondary
opportunities for this population underscores the importance of
academic instruction and vigilance in maintaining close alignment with
content standards.
Alternate Assessments. Unlike students in the general assessment
who respond independently to what are described largely as multiple
choice or open response items, students in this population must rely on
a direct observation by the teacher of the student engaging in the
behavior or the teacher's recall of a student's previous performance.
At this time, nearly all alternate achievement standards assessments
are individually administered generally by building personnel and in
most cases the student's teacher (Quenemoen, Kearns, Quenemoen,
Flowers, & Kleinert, 2010). The level of teacher involvement in an
accountability environment represents an inherent validity problem
which must be accounted for in the assessment design (Gong, & Marion).
However, given that the majority of this population (70% read sight
words and solve math problems with a calculator) (Kearns et al. in
press), it may well be possible for these students to respond
independently using touch-screen, screen readers, and other use of
technology. While the feasibility of this approach is unknown, given
the rate of technology development, it is certainly worth
consideration.
It is important to note that the name of an alternate assessment is
also not necessarily an indicator of the quality of the assessment. All
the nominal categories used to describe assessments for this population
(portfolio, performance task, rating scale, multiple choice with
picture choices), have relative strengths and weaknesses from a
technical quality point of view (Gong & Marion, 2006). Technically
sound assessments account for the weaknesses they present and clearly
explicate the interpretations or inferences that can and cannot be made
from the assessment results (AERA, APA, NCME Standards for Assessments,
1999). As a result many hybrid AA-AAS are beginning to emerge which may
include features from multiple formats. While technical quality in AA-
AAS continues to improve, poorly designed AA-AAS are simply poor
assessments regardless of the name given to the assessment format. To
that end, assessment format is less important than consistent use,
achieving the intended purpose and consequences while minimizing
negative consequences. Ultimately, the technical properties of an
alternate achievement standards assessment format will be revealed in
carefully planned and documented validity studies.
Who is Responsible for These Students' Success?
Research suggests that home/school partnerships are essential to
promote achievement (Heward, 2009)). Our son John has a diagnosis of
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is reading behind his
peers. Through response to intervention, he has received intensive
reading instruction by a reading specialist in addition to the supports
he needs to access the general curriculum. The partnership that we have
with his teacher and his reading specialist has resulted in steady
progress. Should he qualify for services under the IDEA, we want to
build partnerships with his teachers. Furthermore, we want his teachers
to have high expectations for his performance, we want an
accountability system that recognizes his participation, challenging
academic standards, and well-designed progress and proficiency
measures. We want to know where the achievement standard is, how close
or far away his performance is from the achievement standard, and more
importantly what we need to do to in partnership with his teachers to
support his achievement. His future depends on it.
I want to acknowledge that the ESEA has a long history of
supporting students with disabilities through the birth of the IDEA in
the late 1970's through the current authorizations of both the IDEA and
ESEA. Never in our history have children with disabilities been
considered more a part of the essential elements of what we know as
school Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Indeed accountability
has been largely responsible for giving students with disabilities
access to challenging content, improved instruction, and highly
qualified teachers. I see this discussion today as important in the
continued progress toward achieving the goal of equal educational
opportunities for all children.
references
AERA, APA, NCME (1999). Standards for educational and psychological
testing. Washington, DC: American Educational Research
Association.
Betebenner (2005) Norm and Criterion Referenced Student Growth. http://
www.nciea.org/publications/normative--criterion--growth--
DB08.pdf
Browder, D. M., Wakeman, S. Y., Spooner, F., Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., &
Algozzine, B. (2006). Research on reading instruction for
individuals with significant cognitive disabilities.
Exceptional Children, 72,392-408.
Browder, D. M., Spooner, F., Ahlgirm-Delzell, L., Wakeman, S.Y. &
Harris, a. (2008). A meta-analysis on teaching mathematics to
students with significant cognitive disabilities. Exceptional
Children, 74, 407-432.
Courtade, G. R., Spooner, F. & Browder, D. M. (2007). A review of
students with students with significant cognitive disabilities
that link to science standards. Research and Practice in Severe
Disabilities, 32, 43-49.
Donahue Institute. (2004, Oct). A study of MCAS achievement and
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complete.pdf
______

Chairman Kildee. Thank you.
Dr. Curry?

STATEMENT OF DANIEL CURRY, SUPERINTENDENT, LAKE FOREST SCHOOL
DISTRICT

Mr. Curry. Good morning, Chairman Kildee, Mr. Castle,
members of the committee. My name is Dan Curry. It has been my
pleasure--I often say I have the best job in the world--to be
superintendent of Lake Forest School District since 2003.
Prior to that, I served 15 years in that same capacity in
my home state of West Virginia in districts ranging from 1,500
students to 15,000 students, the most rural of which is
considered the most rural school district east of the
Mississippi, I understand, with 1.3 children per square mile.
First, let me say that ESEA allocations have always been a
godsend to rural school districts. It is the nature of rural
school districts to have high instances of poverty and low
property values, leading to limited resources collected through
property tax.
Central office staffs are often small, and they wear
multiple hats. For my 6 years in the central office in
Pocahontas County, I think I did virtually every assignment
there would be, including, as Mr. Castle, mentioned, I did
drive a bus on occasion.
Rural superintendents I have talked to all agree that
formula funding is the fairest means of distribution of ESEA
funds. We fear that turning to competitive grants might leave
rural districts at a disadvantage to compete. Most don't have
grant writers, nor do they have the resources to dedicate to
them.
Spending time and money to go after grants we may not get
is a poor use of human capital, especially during this economic
downturn. It will do nothing but broaden the gap between the
haves and the have-nots.
I urge the committee to ensure that formulas are equitable
for rural school districts. Specifically, the funding formulas
should be based on percentages of poverty, not raw numbers. A
poor student is a poor student no matter where they live and
should not lose funding because they choose to live in a rural
community.
The challenges facing rural schools are many. Recruiting
and retaining teachers continues to be difficult for many. Some
districts have no choice but to maintain small schools with
small enrollment. Geographical isolation and transportation
challenges make that so.
This leads to teachers who must teach multiple subjects and
makes it almost impossible for them to meet the standard to be
considered highly qualified.
First-time teachers willing to agree to any assignment for
a chance to teach can find themselves committing to a heavy
load of multiple class preps, while driving miles after work
several days a week to take the necessary classes. In general,
rural school districts face the same challenges when it comes
to finding a sufficient candidate pool of qualified candidates
for special education, math and science, in particular.
Rural surroundings are sometimes a deterrent to some
candidates. Though they may be willing to go anywhere when
looking for work, many will leave after a time, seeking easier
access to basic amenities like grocery stores and shopping
centers and theaters. And in addition, there is little focus by
the teacher training programs to encourage candidates to take
jobs in rural communities.
The rural school district student is like every other
student in the United States, except he is accustomed to long
rides on the bus. He wants to do well. He will respond to good
teaching and high expectations and a climate that is supportive
and challenging.
I urge you to take steps to see that student progress is
measured by growth and achievement and that progress for
students in special education be in accordance with the
educational goals of their IEP.
When creating the new accountability system, I would like
to remind the subcommittee to take into account the impact of
small numbers of students. Rural schools are more likely to
have small schools, small class sizes, and when using student
assessment data for accountability or for tracking the progress
of teachers, remember that the results of just one or two
students can skew the results.
Finally, graduation rates. If we are to reach the
administration's goal of college-and career-ready students, we
need to let go of the expectation that all children will get
that done in 4 years. Those of us who have sent our kids to
college recently--and I am one--learn that they may need more
than 4 years to complete college. The college degree earned in
5 years or 6 years has the same value as the one earned in 4.
Why then must we--while acknowledging that all children can
learn, but they learn at different rates--be prodded to get
every child through high school in 4 years? Many would be
better served with a 5-year plan. Many, due to challenges at
home, would like to be supported to attend high school on a
part-time basis.
Any high school graduation, whether it takes 5 years, 6
years, or whether it is earned after taking a year off, should
be celebrated. A mandated 4-year graduation requirement works
against all we know and understand of how children learn.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you today.
[The statement of Mr. Curry follows:]

Prepared Statement of Dr. Daniel Curry, Superintendent, Lake Forest
School District, Kent County, DE

Good morning. My name is Dan Curry. I have served as superintendent
of Lake Forest School District in Kent County, Delaware since the
summer of 2003. I've been a school superintendent for 22 years, having
served in that capacity for 15 years in my home state of West Virginia.
Each district was uniquely different. Student enrollment ranged from
1500 to 15,000. One of those districts, Pocahontas County, is
considered the most rural school district in the East with presently
1.3 students per square mile.
During my years as superintendent I have personally observed, and
my districts have adjusted to, the change in philosophy from ESEA
supporting and supplementing the work of the states and local school
districts to ESEA mandating and directing the work of the school
districts.
Lake Forest School district is a rural farm community around 12
miles south of Dover. We have around 3900 students in 166 square miles.
Much of our land is dedicated to farming. We have huge fields planted
mostly in wheat, soy and corn, but there are also plenty of fruits and
vegetables. From 2004-2006 enrollment increased around 5% each year,
and some of our fields gave way to sub-divisions.
The Lake Forest student population is 70% white, 25% African
American and 5% all others. 43% of our children qualify for free or
reduced priced meals at school. We have three primary schools with
grades pre-K--3, one intermediate for grades 4--5, one middle school
for 6-8 and one high school.
First let me say that ESEA allocations have always been a godsend
to rural school districts. It is the nature of rural areas to have high
instances of poverty and low property values, leading to limited
resources collected through property taxes. Central office staffs are
generally small and they wear multiple hats. While working in the
central office in Pocahontas County, over several years I managed
almost every program. I even drove bus on occasion. In some smaller
school districts out west, they may share administrators or the
principal might also be a teacher.
Rural superintendents I have talked to all agree that formula
funding is the fairest means of distribution of ESEA funds. We fear
that turning to competitive grants might leave rural districts at a
disadvantage to compete. Most don't have expert grant writers nor do
they have the resources to dedicate to them. Spending time and
resources to go after grants we may not get is a poor use of resources
especially during this economic downturn. It will do nothing but
broaden the gap between the haves and the have not's.
I urge the committee to work to ensure that the formulas are also
equitable for rural school districts. Specifically, the funding
formulas should be based on percentages of poverty, not raw numbers. A
poor student is a poor student no matter where they live and should not
lose funding because they choose to live in a rural community.
The challenges facing rural schools are many. Recruiting and
retaining teachers continues to be difficult for most rural school
districts. Some districts have no choice but to maintain small schools
with small enrollments. Geographical isolation and transportation
challenges make that so. This leads to teachers who must teach multiple
subjects and makes it almost impossible for them to meet the federal
highly qualified definition. Finding the necessary additional college
classes to eventually earn highly qualified status or making them take
multiple assessments to meet this arbitrary definition is also a
challenge for the same reason. First time teachers willing to agree to
any assignment for a chance to teach, can find themselves committing to
heavy load of multiple class preps while driving miles after work,
several days a week to take the necessary classes.
In general, rural school districts face the same challenges when it
comes to finding a sufficient candidate pool of qualified candidates
for special education, math and science. The rural surroundings are a
deterrent to some candidates. Though they may be willing to go anywhere
when looking for work, many will leave after a time, seeking easier
access to basic amenities like grocery stores, shopping centers and
theaters. In addition, there is little focus by the teacher training
programs to encourage candidates to take jobs in rural communities.
Finding school leaders is much the same. I was first given an
opportunity to be a principal in rural Pocahontas County at age 24
because there was absolutely nobody in the district with the licensure.
I was willing to make that move and it turned out to be a great
decision in my career, but not everyone would enjoy living and working
in such a rural area.
The rural school district student is like every other student in
the United States, except he is accustomed to long rides on the school
bus. She wants to do well. He'll respond to good teaching and high
expectations in a climate that is supportive and challenging. I urge
you to take steps to see that student progress is measured by growth in
achievement and that progress for students in special education be in
accordance with the educational goals of their IEP as opposed to the
goals of the average student.
My district last year had the highest percentage of 8th grade
students scoring proficient in Math--we ranked 1st in the state. Our
8th grade writing scores were 2nd and reading scores ranked 3rd. Yet,
my middle school did not make AYP. Why? Because our special education
students did not meet the general population target for proficiency.
Our special education students are learning and making great strides;
however, we must measure them based on what they are learning.
When creating the new accountability system, I would just like to
remind the subcommittee to take into account the impact of small
numbers of students. Rural schools districts are more likely to have
small schools and small class sizes. When using student assessment data
for accountability, or for tracking the progress of teachers, remember
that the results of just one or two students can throw off the results.
In addition, remember that every time the federal government
requests data on an issue, there is someone in a school district that
is now responsible for tracking that new item. While never bad on its
own, when these data points are added up they have a huge burden on
rural schools which often lack administrative staff. Instead,
principals and sometimes teachers are running around to meet these data
requests. This is time away from critical instruction. Please remember
the impact at the local level when these data requests are made.
I would also like to mention my support on behalf of rural
superintendents for the Rural Education Achievement Program. While my
district does not receive this funding directly, a lot of my colleagues
do. This important funding stream is the only federally dedicated
funding stream for rural schools across the country, both small and
high poverty. It provided them with critical formula dollars to help
overcome the gap in federal funding and their geographic isolation.
This program has proven to be a huge success story in the over 6,000
district's nationwide that support it. I urge the subcommittee to adopt
HR 2446, the REAP Reauthorization Act, introduced by Representatives
Pomeroy, Graves and Hare. This important legislation will make the
minor necessary updates to this very important program.
Finally, graduation rates. If we are to reach the administrations
goal of College and Career--Ready Students'' we need to let go of the
expectation that all children will get it done in 4 years. Those of us
who have sent our children to college in recent times have learned that
many will need more than 4 years to earn a degree. The college degree
earned in 5 years or 6 years has the same value as that earned in 4.
Why then must we, while acknowledging that all children can learn, but
they learn at different rates, be prodded to get every child through
high school in 4 years? Many would be better served with a 5 year plan.
Many, due to challenges at home, would like to be supported to attend
high school on a part-time basis. Any high school graduation, whether
it takes 5 years, 6 years or whether it's earned after taking a year
off, should be celebrated. A mandated 4 year graduation requirement
works against all we know and understand of how children learn and
develop.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today.
I would be happy to take any questions.
______

Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much.
Dr. Dale?

STATEMENT OF JACK DALE, SUPERINTENDENT, FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC
SCHOOLS

Mr. Dale. Thank you, Chairman Kildee and Governor Castle,
and members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity
to address you this morning.
the beginning about how much of the United States now is a
cross-section of the world and how important it is to prepare
our children for the world, because I share that passion with
you.
I would like to reflect a little bit on what we have all
learned, I think, from the first round of No Child Left Behind
high stakes accountability and then provide some of my thoughts
for the future.
The first thing I think we have learned--and you can see
from all of us is disaggregation. We pay very close attention
to our subgroups. But I think the next iteration, the next
level of disaggregation, is individual students, because behind
every successful school in the United States is when they have
peeled the onion back and disaggregated to individual students.
And that is where our next area of emphasis should be.
We have also learned the importance of assessment. We have
talked about the variety of assessments. Ms. Diaz has talked
about the importance of data analysis, Ms. Kearns about the
alternative assessments. And one of the things that we have
learned in assessments is one size does not fit all. And what
we have learned, though, is how much richer some of our
assessments can be when we think about the needs of our
individual children, and that is extremely important in this
next iteration.
I am almost beginning to think, too, it is a little bit
less important about the individuals we hire to be teachers and
principals and maybe more important about what those people do
once they are on the job.
I have found that our most successful schools are ones
where the teams of teachers and principals are beginning to
work diligently on individual student needs, individual student
learning gaps, individual student assessment changes to get at
what their children know, and I think that is the interesting
thing that we need to keep perspective of.
The diversity--Fairfax County public schools, we have over
170,000 children. We do represent the nation. One place we are
different--and I will make some comments about--is in our
English-language learner population.
While we have a comparable percentage of our students who
are English-language learners, we differ in that about 80
percent of our English-language learners are not U.S.-born
students. They are immigrating to the United States, most
recently even from Haiti.
But what we have learned with our English-language learners
is how important it is to teach them English and how to ensure
that they teach--or they learn English and that we can assess
that English-language progress and then begin to assess
simultaneously in a phasing program their knowledge and
background in literacy and in math and science and social
studies, but they must master English, and we must have
transitional assessments to accommodate that.
Our special education children are no different than
whatever everybody else has talked about. One of the things I
would note is in the nation we are becoming--I think we are
having greater percentages of our children with greater needs.
And so while a great proportion of our children can be assess
through the normal process, we are also beginning to see
greater numbers of children who need alternative assessments so
that we can communicate with them, they can communicate with
us, and they can demonstrate the knowledge that they, in fact,
have, so that alteration and assessments is extremely
important.
We tried that in Virginia. We had a Virginia grade-level
assessment, which was basically a portfolio assessment. Some
people think it is suspect because it allowed greater passage
rates. I think it is a step in the right direction, because it
actually allowed children to demonstrate their deep
understanding of the content that we are expecting them to
learn. The normal testing mechanisms did not allow that
particular exhibition of knowledge to take place.
Funding. Funding is always an issue. With stimulus funding,
we have all benefited greatly through the increase in Title 1
and IDEA funds. We are all recognizing the cliff that is coming
after one more year.
With IDEA especially, I think we should try and advocate
for the continuation of that level of funding for our special
needs children because, as I mentioned, we are having greater
numbers of those children and we need to pay attention to their
needs much more so.
A comment about assessments. Not only should we standardize
those across the United States, as we are trying to do, and I
can see the administration pushing us in that direction, a good
thought, but we also need to push ourselves to look at world
assessment. Things that we are looking at in terms of world
assessments are pieces of the program for international student
assessment or TIMS, the trends in international mathematics and
science. We should be looking at some of those, as well as our
U.S. based assessments.
Finally, I want to make a comment about college readiness.
College readiness is going to be a challenge because we do not
have a universal definition of what college readiness means.
Our community colleges, our traditional state 4-year colleges,
and our competitive private college entrance assessments vary
greatly.
And while we aspire to have all of our students college-
ready and/or career-ready, we have a train wreck coming in that
definition. Thank you.
[The statement of Mr. Dale follows:]

Prepared Statement of Dr. Jack Dale, Superintendent, Fairfax County
Public Schools, Fairfax, VA

Overview
The mission of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), a world-class
school system, is to inspire, enable, and empower students to meet high
academic standards, lead ethical lives, and demonstrate responsible
citizenship. FCPS believes that each child is important and entitled to
the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential, and that a
well-rounded education enables students to lead fulfilling and
culturally rich lives.
Fairfax County students achieve at high levels across a broad
spectrum of pursuits. FCPS values a well-rounded education that goes
beyond basics, and encompasses the arts, literacy, languages,
technology, and preparation for the world of work. FCPS provides a
breadth and depth of opportunities to allow all students to stretch
their capabilities. More than 93 percent of FCPS graduates go on to
postsecondary study--including more than 62 percent to four-year
colleges. The on time graduation rate is more than 90 percent.
FCPS is the largest school system in Virginia and the twelfth
largest in the United States. In the 2009-2010 school year, more than
173,000 students are served by 22,137 staff members in 197 schools and
centers. Fairfax County is home to more than a million residents and
reflects an increasing level of cultural, economic and linguistic
diversity. Fewer than 47 percent of FCPS' students identify themselves
as White; 18 percent Asian American; 18 percent Hispanic; 10 percent
African American; and 6 percent Multiracial. While the county is often
viewed as having wealth and resources, it also has the highest cost of
living in the state. In the current school year, more than 39,000 FCPS
students are eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced-Price Meals
Program (FRL), a nationally recognized benchmark indicating poverty.
Fairfax County's critical issues include a rapidly growing
population, increasing diversity, primarily from immigration and
resettlement, poverty, extreme income disparity, high mobility, as well
as the recession, which continues to significantly impact our
community. Decreased revenue at the county level has led to a decrease
in the amount provided to FCPS, which relies on the county for nearly
75 percent of its funding. The budget crisis in the schools will impact
a wide range of programs and services, in particular programs that
impact low income and language minority students.
ELL
Currently in FCPS, more than 41 percent of PreK-12 students live in
homes in which a language other than English is spoken (language
minority students), with more than 140 different languages and 200
countries represented. Students come to FCPS from all over the world,
with major groups coming from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala),
South America (Peru, Colombia, Argentina), Asia (Korea, Vietnam, China,
the Philippines) and Africa (Somalia, Ghana). Some of the most recent
arrivals include orphans from Haiti being united with families in
Fairfax. Approximately half of FCPS language minority students (or 20
percent of the total FCPS student population) are also English language
learners (ELLs--also referred to as limited English proficient [LEP]
students). The FCPS ELL student population has more than quadrupled in
the past 20 years.
Nationwide, ELLs are the fastest growing student population, and
are projected to comprise more than 25 percent of the entire K-12
student population in the US by the year 2050. To prepare ELLs to be
successful members of the 21st century global society, there is a need
to articulate a clear national vision of high expectations for ELLs.
programs, including Advanced Placement (AP) and International
Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and college and career preparation
programs. It is also necessary to provide ELLs with appropriate
differentiated instruction and resource support to prepare and enable
them to become successful in these rigorous academic settings.
It is important to include ELLs in accountability systems, to
ensure that they are also being provided equal access to and quality
instruction of content area standards. However, ELLs should be assessed
with measures that are fair, valid, reliable, and appropriate for their
current English language proficiency level while they are learning
academic English. States should be given the resources to provide those
appropriate alternative assessments for ELLs, especially when assessing
literacy.
Research demonstrates that it can take five to seven years to
acquire the type of academic English necessary to be academically
successful. Since ELLs' educational background varies greatly, their
academic achievement and English language proficiency should be
assessed using multiple measures, with a focus on their progress and
growth over time. ELLs who enter US schools during the secondary level
should be provided with additional time, as necessary, to fulfill
graduation requirements without penalizing schools through the
accountability measures.
ELLs development of English, as well as the knowledge of their home
language, should be promoted and cultivated so that they can learn to
communicate in two or more languages to enhance their ability to be
successful participants of the global economy of the 21st century.
Innovative models of providing high quality, successful, rigorous, and
challenging instruction to ELLs should be promoted, rewarded and shared
nationwide as demonstration models. ELL student populations are growing
most rapidly in areas around the country that previously did not have
ELL populations. Therefore, all instructional personnel need pre-
service and ongoing in-service professional development on successful,
research-based strategies for working with ELLs in the classroom.
IDEA
The underfunding of the actual cost of programs for students with
disabilities at the federal level impedes services to all students.
Federal funding for IDEA has not been brought to the level deemed
appropriate when PL 94-142 was enacted in 1975 to help school districts
maintain quality in special education and slow the drain of funds for
services to students who are not disabled.
IDEA requires that services mandated in each student's IEP must be
funded. These services in the IEP cannot be cut when budgets are tight,
so cuts to other students go a little deeper. Even in good times, there
is real budget tension between special education and general education.
Only additional funding or regulatory relief can ease the budget
tensions and help school districts deal with shortfalls in state and
local revenue as a result of the recession.
Currently FCPS serves 24,502 students with disabilities through
IEPs. Of particular concern is that while the number of students with
mild disabilities has increased only slightly, the number of students
with severe disabilities has increased significantly. These students
receive more than 50 percent of their education in self contained
settings. The number of students with significant disabilities has
risen by 12 percent. In the area of autism alone, there has been an
increase of 413 students from 2007 to 2009. The cost to educate these
students can be in excess of $10,000 per student in addition to the general education per pupil cost. The services are IEP-driven and are mandatory requirements of a law that is funded at approximately 15 percent of the cost to the district. Stimulus funding through the IDEA created some partial support in this area but with the loss of this funding in FY12, the education services to all students will be compromised. Permanent funding must be found to close this gap. Assessment Requirement The testing requirements in IDEA and NCLB initially produced results which were not useful in planning individual or group instruction for students with disabilities who function at low to very low cognitive levels. The tests based on the federal requirements measure proficiency based on long lists of grade level standards but are not connected to a clear objective, like readiness for the next grade, or college/career readiness. These laundry-list tests were clearly not suited for students who function at a very low level. This resulted in the adoption of the one percent rule, which helped to ensure that the information coming from tested students would be a more accurate reflection of overall student performance. However, the many standards and the lack of internal connectivity among the standards still resulted in tests where students functioning at lower cognitive levels, but not the lowest, faced few items they could answer, leaving the assessments unreliable for these students as well. The United States Department of Education came up with a two percent rule to deal with inaccurate and unreliable tests for this next tier of students. The two percent rule has not been easy to implement because federal rules still insist on standards rigidly tied to grade levels and because of the lack of appropriate assessments designed to address the continuum of cognitive functioning. Virginia created the Virginia Grade Level Assessment (VGLA) in an attempt to respond to the two percent challenge. While a step in the right direction, the VGLA has not proven adequate. In fairness, no assessment will be adequate until federal requirements permit adaptive assessment and until there are fewer, clearer standards that build step by step to a logical measurable end, like college and career readiness. Assessment provides a valuable staff development opportunity. Teachers learn more, and schools improve when they are provided time to sit down and analyze the data from these assessments with their teams. They work together to apply what they have learned from the analyses to formulate plans to bridge the gaps on student achievement Funding All of these accountability programs and assessments have a direct and substantial impact on local resources. The estimated local cost to FCPS of the underfunded federal programs is listed below: IDEA--$43 million (would have been nearly $62 million without stimulus) NCLB--$16 million
ELL--$51.5 million Homeless--$112,000 for staff (not including additional
classroom resources) and $500,000 in transportation costs covering taxis, buses, vans, and gas and smart trip cards. Additionally, FCPS is eligible for greater Impact Aid under current allotment formulas than is received. However, because Impact Aid is not fully funded, school divisions like FCPS that have large overall operating budgets relative to their Impact Aid eligible population receive proportionately fewer Impact Aid dollars. If fully funded according to the federal definition, FCPS would receive$15.8 million
in Impact Aid; instead of the $3.5 million received in FY 2009. Looking to the Future Assessment can and should improve, and we have many of the tools necessary to improve these tests. Performance assessment and adaptive assessment have made huge strides in reliability and validity since the adoption of No Child Left Behind. The new ESEA and then the new IDEA must permit the use of these more accurate assessments. Educators want to improve accuracy by measuring growth or progress over time. Time can be measured by grade level or by years in school, but there must be a beginning point for each student that is accurate and tracks over time. Such measures require a clear end target and equally clear steps and benchmarks along the way. Assessment must move from a once a year event to a regular occurrence that is built into the learning experience. Results must be available within hours, not months, and the results must be individualized. School districts must also be permitted to include valid and reliable assessments they develop or purchase along with required state assessments to provide a more complete picture of student achievement in the aggregate and for individual students. Then the two percent rule could be eliminated because the continuum of cognitive functioning will be accommodated in the assessment design. More importantly every high scoring country internationally is using high-quality performance assessments. No country that scores high on international benchmarks like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) or Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is using the type of tests required by IDEA/NCLB to improve schools or to measure student achievement, so why are students in the US left using the Model T version of assessment? Standards must improve too. States now have long lists of standards for each tested grade level. These standards exist in isolation from each other and do not include internal steps or benchmarks that would inform students, parents, teachers, and administrators about student progress. Fewer, clearer standards that build to an easily understood and measured end point such as college and career readiness are a must if students are to have a clear road map to success. In particular, special education and ELL students and their parents need that map to plan their futures. Students who do not speak English well enough to take a content test in English are also disadvantaged by the requirements of IDEA/NCLB and by the rules established by the US Department of Education to implement those programs. At some point on the continuum of mastery, a student's content knowledge can be accurately assessed in English. Until they get to that point, there are too few items on current tests to accurately and reliably gauge their academic achievement--the content tests simply become a measure of their comprehension of the English language. The rigid rules about time in school assume a uniform rate of learning English which is not consistent with what we know about student language mastery. There must be some flexibility in determining readiness for content-level testing and then the assessments themselves must be improved to give students the best opportunity to demonstrate their content knowledge. Instead of choosing assessments based on what is educationally sound and best for our students, the assessments being used appear to have been chosen largely based on their cost. State of the art testing will require new resources, and those resources must come from the Federal Government. We cannot require states and localities to use of high quality assessments without making the resources available to implement them properly. Our students need and deserve these changes to stay competitive in our dynamic global economy. ______ Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much. I want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony and will now proceed with the question-and-answer period of the hearing. The presentations were very clear, and they provoke some good questions from ourselves, too. I recognize myself first for 5 minutes. President Gipp, one of the important messages in your testimony is the significance of tribal consultation. I have been a longstanding advocate of native students and understand the importance of including tribal leaders in decisions that affect their students. Can you talk more about the challenges tribal leaders face in this area and how we can ensure that the needs of native students are properly addressed and just not sometimes forgotten? For example, I think in the Race to the Top and in the state fiscal stabilization fund, by omission, you were not included. What can we do to make sure that when we have special programs, which made a great difference in many school districts in many states, that you are not ignored in that, but that you can see how you can be included in those special programs that the president initiates? Mr. Gipp. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Indeed, you are correct that there has been a major oversight of tribal communities and tribal nations with respect to Race to the Top and those kinds of opportunities, and our communities have been completely left out. So I think it would be incumbent upon the executive branch to take a look at how they can formulate some of those or reformulate some initiatives that could be made available to tribal governments and tribal communities. The second thing is to look at how we might also look at a special initiative enabled by Congress itself so that those communities can be included in terms of appropriations and directives to the administration to include tribal nations. But more importantly, as you mentioned, the issue of tribal consultation is a very, very critical thing that needs to be ongoing, and it needs to be part and parcel to how the Department of Education and other federal agencies conduct themselves with respect to tribal governments who do have this nation-to-nation relationship with the United States government. Chairman Kildee. And I think you are very correct. You know, I have read many of the treaties. And very often, we fail to recognize that there is a direct relationship of government to government between the federal government and your tribal government. I always, particularly with the younger Indians, point out that I have, for example, two citizenships. I am a citizen of the United States, and I am a citizen of the state of Michigan. You and other Native Americans have three real citizenships of sovereign entities. You are a citizen of the United States, and that is been proven by the number of Indians serving in our armed forces. You are a citizen of the state. And you are a citizen of your tribe. And you have rights and responsibilities that come from those citizenships. And I think we have to make sure we don't by omission fail to carry that out, because sins of omission can be as damaging as sins of commission. So I appreciate your comment on that. Now I will recognize the governor for 5 minutes. Mr. Castle. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And let me thank all of you. I think your testimony is wonderful, and I can't get to all the questions I have, so I apologize for that. But I am going to start with a question and go along with Dr. Dale, Dr. Curry and Dr. Kearns, and that is the whole issue of adaptive testing, which we are about to adopt in Delaware for next--or have adopted, I guess, for next year, in terms of computer testing that can go up and down, give instant results, and that kind of thing. And you mentioned it in your testimony, Dr. Dale. But I would be interested in your thoughts about that on a broader sense. I think the whole business of assessments is going to be a vital question. And however we redo the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and I don't know what your experiences with it has been or what your thoughts about it are, but I would be curious to hear about that. And I also worry about the special populations and their ability to be able to handle that kind of testing, too. Mr. Dale. You raise excellent questions. The assessments that we are looking at trying to put in place to supplement our regular standardized--standards of learning test in Virginia they are called--is--well, first of all, we are trying to put assessments in place that are informative. You can assess weekly, monthly, whatever period of time to assess progress and intervene. It is to us not educationally sound to wait until the very end of the year to begin to do assessments that we should be doing that, so those kinds of adaptations, I want to say, should take place. The other is to try and look at different methods by which children can demonstrate their competency. As I mentioned in my testimony briefly, we have instituted a portfolio assessment collecting artifacts of student work to demonstrate their competency, which is a different method than just a paper or pencil test to accommodate special needs children, and that is a piece that we believe strongly in continuing to research. People question whether the validity and reliability of that kind of an assessment is comparable to a paper and pencil test, but those, I think, are research questions which we should continue to pursue and not dismiss, but we should do, as Ms. Kearns says, continue to pursue those, to make sure that we have equivalent methods by which kids with different kinds of needs and disabilities can demonstrate their competency. Mr. Castle. Thank you. Dr. Curry? Mr. Curry. And as you are aware, Congressman Castle, Delaware is making a move toward assessments of that ilk. We just this week finished our state test in our traditional time period in March. And almost immediately, we will go into field testing. A new assessment that will be used next year, that assessment will be Web-based. Most students will take it on computer. And there will be various forms available so that the student may take it more than one time throughout the year. In that way, it helps inform the teacher so that they can adjust instruction and make changes to instructional needs based upon the students' performance and a formative level of the assessment. So we are looking forward to this new opportunity to more accurately measure student progress. And I think it will be good for all the children of Delaware. Mr. Castle. Ms. Kearns? Ms. Kearns. Thank you, Ranking Member Castle, for that question. I think that is a really important one that both Dr. Dale and Dr. Curry pointed out, that they still use their state tests as the demarcation of the standard, and I think that is really important. We want kids with disabilities, particularly, to have access. We want to know where the standard is. We want to know what the achievement standard is for all kids. And both of my colleagues here have mentioned that that was an important part. Out of level tests or interim informative assessments in addition to that are absolutely fine, as long as they help teachers really up the expectations of what kids can know and can do, and I think we really want to keep that in our minds. We really want to help teachers understand what the expectations are and how to get kids to those higher levels of expectations, and that would be for all kids. Mr. Castle. Thank you. I want to ask the other side of the panel a question quickly. This is an education hearing, and I understand that, but it often, in terms of dealing with children who are underachieving and minority groups, or groups just coming to America, I worry about what is also happening at home. Are they being prepared to be educated, is there--in the encouragement of that and that kind of thing? I am not sure in redoing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act we can address too much of that directly, but Ms. Diaz mentioned parents, and I think we are all very conscious of the family effect in terms of moving forward. Your comments on anything that we should be thinking about doing, in terms of making sure that there is a recognition of the importance of education among all groups, but obviously those who are minorities or have English as a second language or some other barriers in terms of education? Mr. Wotorson. I think it is a wonderful question, Mr. Kildee--I mean, Mr. Castle. I apologize. When the Campaign for High School Equity was first put together, we put out a document called the plan for success that specifically addressed that issue where we were urging policymakers to consider a variety of ways of specifically addressing how you, in fact, invest communities so that they can be better supported in terms of providing wraparound services so that there is more support in terms of how you involve parents in the education process. It is something that we would--that I would say we agree with you on 112 percent, that it is something that should be invested in and to make sure that there is more support for kids outside of school. Ms. Diaz. I would also agree. In my experience, it is very doable and it is just about being intentional about it. We have utilized Title 3 funding very carefully. And what we have found is that parents need to be educated, but they also need to be taught what things they could do at home, and they need to be talked honestly to and boldly. In our Hispanic community, for example, the soap operas are in the evening, unfortunately, and Univision is very popular. That is a total contradiction of what we need as educators for them to spend their time and in the evenings. We need to explain that to them. It is just something that us as educators need to hold on and embrace and say--and expect them not to spend their time doing that, but to turn off the TV and explain why that is important and then show them how to do so. We have--I talked a little bit about how we are intentional about showing them strategies, and we do that--we try to do that with household, common household, you know, goods, for example, shaving creams. Most people have shaving cream at home. It is a wonderful tool to practice spelling words or sight words, for example, but you have to show them. If they don't know, they won't implement it. But if you can explain what they can do, for example, and how to do it and then the results that their students will gain, it makes a remarkable difference. Every parent wants their child to succeed, and immigrant parents really have high expectations for their students. They do not want them to be cleaning hotel rooms and dishwashing in the backs of restaurants. And if you can explain that in that way, the fact that it is an investment, it is a sacrifice at that point in time to be able to turn off the TV, but it is an enormous investment of their time, and if you show them, and if we teach them English, as well--part of our Parents Are Teachers program is helping parents learn English, as well. So it can be done. You just have to be intentional about it. And Title 3 funding can be very beneficial to us as educators. Mr. Gipp. Thank you, Ranking Member Castle. I would agree with both of the comments made by Mr. Wotorson and Ms. Diaz as to this special population. I would also add that our tribes need the authority to develop their own measurements and standards. That is something that is always been lacking. We always say that the local community is a part of American pie and all of those kinds of things. That is not been the case historically with the Indian tribe and tribal populations. I remember my own grandfather being told by the local superintendent of the reservation that, when he went home, he was not to speak Lakota in the home. He wasn't supposed to speak that to his children and likewise. This went on for many, many years. And so we were always taught that we shouldn't be who we were. That, however, is not the case. We are who we are today. We have lost a lot of cultural value. But on the other hand, it can be put back together because our tribes are still there, our children are still there, and they are intensely interested in knowing who they are by culture, by language and by history. And this is where our tribes need to have a voice when we talk about issues of accreditation, of standards, of measurement that have been totally left out of the picture. And that is why it is so important to support tribal education departments, to support education standards, and a accreditation system that is responsive to who and what we are all about and helping us build them from within the community, let's put it that way. There is more to say, obviously, about this. Mr. Castle. Thank you. Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott? Mr. Scott. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Wotorson, your organization is a coalition of civil rights groups. Do I understand that correctly? Mr. Wotorson. Yes, sir. Mr. Scott. The achievement gap--in many areas, there is a very clearly identifiable, ethnically identifiable achievement gap where children of one group are educated to the 10th grade and children of another group are educated to the 12th grade. Does that violate the principle in Brown that the children--the minority race is being denied an equal educational opportunity? Mr. Wotorson. I think in many ways it is reflective of the unfinished legacy of Brown. On the one hand, Brown intended to ensure access, but it never ensured equity. And as you rightly point out, we are faced with a situation of a real hyper- concentration of a number of problems that affect low-income and minority students in equitable access to critically important educational resources, access to oftentimes the most ineffective teachers, just a whole range of things that, at the end of the day, do, in fact, have the effect of denying them a high-quality education. Mr. Scott. And there has been the--in the litigation over disabled children 30 years ago, it was concluded that the localities had the responsibility of educating special ed students and cost could not be a defense, is that right? Mr. Wotorson. That is my understanding. Mr. Scott. Now, one of the elements of the achievement gap is the dropout rate. When we started No Child Left Behind, we put in there--there is legislation that they had to consider dropout rate. Otherwise, you would have a perverse incentive, letting people drop out to drop from the bottom. The more people drop out, the higher your average looks, that you had to offset by dropouts--unfortunately, we left it up to the states to figure out what dropout meant, and by the time they finished, it was a meaningless calculation. Do you have a problem with leaving it up to the states as to how they count who drops out? Mr. Wotorson. Mr. Congressman, that is exactly why we have called for, at a minimum threshold, holding states accountable for student success and requiring states and districts to report on how well they are doing in terms of moving students towards graduation. Mr. Scott. Now, the name of your organization is Campaign for High School Equity. Did you find as a finding that the low- performing schools, in fact, got less resources? Mr. Wotorson. The finding has been established, actually, for quite some time that generally the lowest-performing schools have inequitable access to the same kinds of resources and that, more often not, students of color tend to be concentrated in those schools. Similarly, teachers with the least amount of experience tend to be concentrated in those schools, as well. Mr. Scott. Dr. Dale, you represent one of the most diverse school systems in the nation. When you get your disaggregated data and notice that some groups are not achieving and there is, in fact, an achievement gap, you have a choice. You can just watch or you can try to do something. And we have in the legislation kind of cookie-cutter steps. Do you do any diagnosis to find out what, in fact, the problem is and prescribe a solution to deal with that problem? Or do you just go through some cookie-cutter ideas, whether it fits or not? Mr. Dale. We go through individual--let me respond in a couple things. One is to piggyback on the resource question. The first thing we have done, regardless of Title 1 funding, regardless of IDEA funding, regardless of any state funding, even, is we distribute additional resources to our schools that have the greater needs, and our greater needs are defined three ways: underperforming, high poverty, English- language learners. And so we--out of our own local resources--distribute an additional set of staffing and additional time for teachers to address that, so we---- Mr. Scott. That is in addition to Title 1? Mr. Dale. In addition, well above Title 1. In fact, it is probably twice our Title 1 funding. Then, to diagnose issues in a given school, we expect our teachers and our principals to work on individual student needs. And so we get down to the individual student to determine why that student is or is not succeeding and provide the intervention. That is our quest. Mr. Scott. Does it work? Mr. Dale. We have many schools, in fact, where our disaggregation data would suggest that the white middle class is the underperforming class, interestingly enough. Yes, it works. Mr. Scott. Good. Thank you. And, Ms. Diaz, you have indicated that you can eliminate the achievement gap, and you also suggested that a comprehensive approach was necessary. What kinds of initiatives--you mentioned a couple of them--actually eliminate the achievement gap? Ms. Diaz. I think education within our educators is important. One of the things that we have tried to do is be very focused about our professional development. We had a changing community. It was--the immigrant population came to the educators as a surprise. And being able to educate them was quite difficult at the beginning, so utilizing Title 3 funding to also educate the teachers in how to differentiate instruction for ELL learners. The other thing we had to do was re-educate our English- language learner teachers. One of the thing I observed is that traditionally, our ELL teachers were seeing their role as what I call a mother hen syndrome, is protecting their ELL students and trying to do the best, but it was primarily tutoring services versus teaching content and teaching language acquisition. So for the regular classroom teacher, being able to train them so that they could provide good teaching for ELL learners, as well, not just what I call the Crayola curriculum. Every student in every country knows how to color and they don't need a teacher to teach them that. They need to be taught content. And the ELL teachers needed to see their jobs as--we need to also work with the regular classroom teachers, and we need to provide learning, not just simply tutoring and let me help you with your homework. The combination of the two and working together so the ELL teacher understands what the classroom teacher is doing and vice versa and then working together collaboratively during our collaboration period, that is what they are looking--they are looking at the data, but what do they need to teach in both arenas? That has been very successful. Ms. Kearns. I would like to add that that is ditto for children with disabilities. When special ed teachers protect them, it is a lifetime ruin, so we really have to have access to the general curriculum. We have to have professional development. We have to have all of those things if the kids are going to meet the standard. Chairman Kildee. The chair now yields 5 minutes to the gentlelady from Illinois whose interest in education has been very deep, very broad. When she was a member of the state legislature in Illinois, she played a key role in the reorganization of the Chicago school district. And it helped turn that district around, and we are all very grateful to her for that. Mrs. Biggert? Mrs. Biggert. Thank you very much for those kind words, Mr. Chairman. And I would like to kind of address something that we haven't been talking about, but since we are addressing the needs of diverse students, I understand that several of you have excellent programs to serve homeless students. And I would wonder how much of an increase for services there has been since, obviously, the climb in the unemployment and the recession. And, second of all, I am wondering about--and maybe introducing legislation which would allow Title 1 funds to be available for transportation for homeless students, which would then provide greater resources for the McKinney-Vento program. And I would like to know if your districts receive McKinney- Vento subgrants. And maybe Dr. Dale or Dr. Curry, I think you both---- Mr. Dale. Yes, thank you for raising that question. Homeless children are an issue. Economic circumstances does increase that, as parents lose jobs and then children are left--or parents are left in trying to grab--migrate to wherever it is they might be able to live. As we well know, the theory behind the McKinney-Vento act was to make sure that the stability for that child was then their school. And so when we do that, we obviously do increase transportation costs. And while we get funds to cover some of that, it is nowhere near the expenditures that we have in Fairfax County. We used to spend in excess of$5 million on transportation
costs for homeless children, children who are foster care,
which we have put in somewhat the same category of trying to
provide stability. And while we redesigned some of our
transportation processes, we are still in excess of $2 million that we are spending to transport kids to give them that stable environment in their school. Any assistance in that area would be tremendously helpful. Mrs. Biggert. Dr. Curry? Mr. Curry. And even rural areas are no stranger to issues of the homeless. We have a large transient population, and there is a lot of movement when jobs are lost to move back home often and move in with grandmother and grandfather at times, but sometimes that is not a possibility, as well. So my district has invested a great deal. And managing the homeless, I don't have any numbers in front of me, but I do know that it is significant, and we do not, however, exceed the available money through McKinney-Vento, because everything we need has been made available. Mrs. Biggert. Is there anybody else that would like to comment on that? No? Then I have one other question, and that is about, you know, the testing and the IEP. And I know that we had a hearing yesterday--and Secretary Duncan said that testing with the IEP rather than the general--that single test for those with severe disabilities, he thought, would be an option that he would like to look at. And, Dr. Curry, you mentioned it, and then, Dr. Kearns, you seem to have a little difference of opinion on that, so---- Mr. Curry. Yes, we need to move to measuring progress of all students, first of all. How much progress did we make and aim to--for those who are behind, to make more than one year's progress? And so overall, for all children, movement to assessments that identify progress and movement to assessments that identify progress so that we can also reward teachers for helping bring about student progress is important. And when it comes to special needs populations, when appropriate, their IEP will dictate, will tell you that they should be held accountable to the same assessments, but at times that maybe it won't be appropriate, and I think that needs to be taken into consideration and measure of every child's progress is critical. With such a specialized program for a special needs student, you have a lot more information to go on, on whether or not that child is progressing. Mrs. Biggert. Dr. Kearns? Ms. Kearns. Absolutely the IEP plays an important role. However, I would point out that Bruce is the classic example of a student who had an IEP, and the IEP team failed terribly. And it was only because the teacher had to figure out how to assess him for his alternate assessment, that she asked for assistance, and that is how he got his technology. So I would say that absolutely the IEP is an important tool, but it is not an accountability tool. The other concern I have about using the IEP for that is that we really need parents and teachers to form partnerships. And my biggest concern about that is the inherent possibly resulting in litigation, and we really don't need to go there. We really need to reinforce parent-school partnerships. But all kids need to be in the assessment and accountability system, and I think Bruce's example is the classic example of where IEP teams sometimes don't have all the expertise they need to make those important decisions. Mrs. Biggert. I see it as a very sensitive issue that we will really have to look at. Thank you both. I yield back. Chairman Kildee. We have been told that we may have a vote in about 10, 15 minutes, so we will have to move along as quickly as possible because coming back after a series of votes would take over an hour, so we will try to move along. But the gentleman from Puerto Rico, Mr. Pierluisi? Mr. Pierluisi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to extend my own welcome to the witnesses, particularly Ms. Diaz, who I understand was raised in Puerto Rico. I am glad to see, Mr. Chairman, that my fellow Puerto Ricans are contributing to the general welfare of the great state of Michigan. [Laughter.] Chairman Kildee. We appreciate your generosity in sharing. Mr. Pierluisi. Welcome, everyone. Today's hearing addresses educational issues faced by a range of diverse learners. Because I have only a brief period of time, I want to focus my questions on the needs of English-language learners, which are the fastest growing segment of the nation's school-age population. How well our schools educate the students will dictate the future success of our nation. To meet the needs of English learners, our schools must provide not only highly qualified teachers of English as a second language, but also teachers who can teach the students in their native tongue. Yet schools in Puerto Rico and in many states are having great difficulty in recruiting highly qualified, bilingual teachers certified to teach ESL and subject-specific classes in the student's native language. Due to the dearth of quality applicants, many teachers of English learners do not have the fluency for ESL teaching skills necessary to provide effective instructions to the student population. As I see it, the need for high-quality bilingual education extends beyond the needs of English learners. We must prepare all students to work and succeed in the 21st century worldwide marketplace and to provide students in the United States with the same language skills already required of students in Europe and Asia. That is why it is important that high schools graduates of all background be able to communicate in more than one language. I should say that, actually, I am impressed with your English, Ms. Diaz. I hope that my Spanish matches yours. But that should be the goal. I am talking now about Spanish, students who Spanish is their first language, but the same applies to other languages. I would like now to just ask a couple questions. I know that timing is running. Ms. Diaz, I agree with your recommendation that this should provide more professional development to teachers working with English-language learners. Have you found certain professional development programs to be particularly effective for teachers of English learners? Have you used teacher exchanges as a way for teachers to learn from other teachers and schools? Ms. Diaz. I have used a SIAP model, and that has been also very effective. I have trained all of our English-language teachers in the SIAP model within our district. I believe that colleges need to be doing a better job. And I agree that we need to be focusing on the endorsements of teacher prep programs. Most of our colleges are moving away from the bilingual model certification process to the ESL model and that the difference between the two is, if you are bilingually certified, you have to choose a second language to learn and be certified in. You have to show proficiency in a second language. In an ESL endorsement model, you do not have to know a second language. So primary concern there really comes when you are working not only with new immigrant families that need that second language; I also find that there is a distinct difference between a teacher that has gone through the process of learning a second language and their ability to teach immigrant students and someone that has not. And more importantly, with working with parents, if you have that second language, it opens the door very wide open to working with the parents and the success that it brings when you educate the parents. And you need that second language to be able to do so, so I am in complete agreement. [Speaking in Spanish.] Mr. Pierluisi. Oh, my goodness. She is good at that, too. [Laughter.] And then, Mr. Dale, Dr. Dale, does your school district have a shortage of teachers of English as a second language? And what strategies for increasing the number of qualified ESL teachers do you have or are using? Any recruitment incentives, professional development? Can you elucidate on this? Mr. Dale. We are actually blessed with not having a recruitment issue. And we focus on, in our English-language learning program, we have probably one of the nation's premier people in Teddi Predaris in knowing how to train our own teachers in how to best teach English, because that is--we have two areas to focus on. I am going to reinforce the other bilingual component that you talked about. We have children from 200 different countries, 120 different languages, so there is no way we can do dual language. We just don't have that capacity. So we focus on teaching all of our English-language learners English proficiency and monitor that through Title 3 processes and make sure that they, in fact, learn that and exit from the program within usually 3 to 4 years max. The other piece that I want to note is that we have actually put in place our own goals to have all of our children conversant in at least two languages upon graduation, because we do also think that that is important. Now, 40 percent of our kids go home every night where English is not the primary language, so we have a benefit of having bilingual, trilingual students already, but we want to make sure they are extremely proficient in English, because that is our mission, and then also pick up another language to be part of the world. Mr. Pierluisi. Thank you. Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Platts? Mr. Platts. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I first want to thank each of our witnesses for your testimony and, maybe most importantly, for your shared committed to our nation's children and working to make sure we do right by all of our nation's children. That comes through loud and clear. First, just a comment, I guess. Dr. Curry, you talked about your concerns with rural school districts. And my oldest sister, who taught for about 20 years, for a number of years taught in west Texas, where kindergarten to 12, her school had--the entire district had about 100 kids. She was the English department for seventh through twelfth grade. Her graduating class, the one year I visited her, was four. So your comment of one student, you know, impacting dramatically in that assessment, I think, is something we need to be very conscious of in assessing how the school district, the school building, which was all one, or the teachers are doing in the classroom. Ms. Diaz, I wanted to specifically ask you--you emphasized the importance in your original testimony and in answering questions about the family involvement, and I share that completely. Danny Davis and I have sponsored legislation, Education Begins at Home, about trying to help promote parenting education programs, nurse family partnership and others. But specifically in the area of literacy, in your area in Michigan, if Even Start--is there an Evan Start program in your area? Are you familiar with it? And how do you see that working in trying to promote family literacy that then helps the parent at home? Ms. Diaz. In our county, we have implemented a similar program called Bright Beginnings. And they are very similar, as far as foundational beliefs and philosophies, and that--we have a representative stationed in our district to work with parent 0 to 5 and performing play groups in our schools. It is a great feeder program, and it focuses on literacy skills. They go to the home for home visits and they also bring the families into the schools. We have a--we are very fortunate to have a bilingual Bright Beginnings representative within our district, and she works collaboratively with our district to provide not only literacy skills, but the content that we would like her to focus on, as well. She is also part--I mentioned the family night, the reading night, math night. She is part--actively a part of those nights. And she brings the families into those activities and provides them in Spanish, as well. Mr. Platts. Sounds like your district's really on the ball, as far as the importance of that 0 to 5 years and combining the literacy with just the broader education skills or foundation through the parents. Ms. Diaz. Extremely important to start them out as soon as possible. Mr. Platts. Yes, thank you. Dr. Gipp, you emphasized the importance of Native Americans in the classroom with Native American students. Is there a percentage today that you are aware of what percent--if you are familiar with those numbers--that are Native American teachers and tells us kind of how far we need to get, if we place a greater emphasis here? Mr. Gipp. Well, within the tribal communities, it still is very, very small. We are lucky to have 5 percent to 10 percent of our teachers in our school systems, sometimes as high as 20 percent, that are teachers in a given school system. But it will vary from one school and one tribe to the next. Again, a large percentage of our students are educated in public school systems, so there are fewer teachers there, so we have a major need to redevelop and put forth a teacher initiative to teach and train more people to become--Native Americans to become teachers. Many in the past have already retired, and so it is very important to bring in teachers that also have the cultural identity and the teaching of native heritage within the curriculum as we develop these systems. Mr. Platts. Yes, I think well stated. Thank you. And I am going to try to squeeze in one last question, Dr. Dale. When you talked about the assessment--and if I understood your statement correctly, you said a standard assessment across the country. And usually we hear local control, not top-down, but bottom-up. And did I understand you correct? Because one of my concerns is we are incentivizing--this goes to the competitive grant process, also, that Dr. Curry referenced, that we are going to incentivize or give more and more money--in fact, most of the increase is in the competitive grant category, not in Title 1, not in IDEA, but through competitive grant, which I think is a point that Dr. Curry made that was important, but also in how you do the assessment, if you do a regional, statewide--or a regional approach versus a state doing their own assessment, you are disincentivized from doing your own. Can you clarify where you are on that? Mr. Dale. I think I misspoke, because I remember the words I said. What I believe is that we should have a set of national standards, and I think the local assessments in how to get there are still fine, because I think we have a sophistication in the assessment industry now to be able to do cross-state comparisons if we can agree on a set of standards. And my quest would be to make sure that those standards are globally competitive, as well. Mr. Platts. Okay, so but still national standards that, in essence, we are setting here? Mr. Dale. I think the notion of trying to get all of the states to agree upon a set of standards is a positive direction to go, because our kids are so mobile now---- Mr. Platts. Yes. Mr. Dale [continuing]. We do them a disservice to not having some kind of assurance. Mr. Platts. If it is more that cooperative state approach versus a national--meaning us---- Mr. Dale. Yes, I would agree. Thank you for---- Mr. Platts. So thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Chairman Kildee. Thank you. The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Polis? Mr. Polis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Access to quality early childhood education is a very important strategy if we are to improve the educational outcomes of at-risk students and if we are ever going to truly succeed in making America a leader in college graduates by 2020, which is the goal that President Obama has set for the nation and I strongly support. I wanted to give you the chance--since it wasn't covered in the testimonies--to address some of the severe inequities the low-income and other at-risk students face before they even enter the classroom in kindergarten. Lacking adequate preparation, these students are already behind before they even set foot in a public school environment. I would like to open it up to see who would like to discuss the role of expanding access to high-quality early childhood education, especially for low-income students, as part of systemic school reform and any recommendations you might have in that area within the context of ESEA reauthorization. Yes, Dr. Curry? Mr. Curry. Quality early childhood, pre-kindergarten opportunities ought to be generally available to all students. I think some states have done a better job of opening up access so that all children as 4-year-olds can have the opportunity for school. But it is something that I have no doubt as an elementary educator initially that that early intervention is critical, and that is the--without that, that is, indeed, part of the deficit that many children come in the door with, is that they didn't have the same opportunities. So that needs to be strengthened. It would be helped with some federal dollars to help support that. Mr. Polis. Ms. Diaz? Ms. Diaz. I would encourage partnership. There is a lot of early childhood programs. Bright Beginnings is one I have mentioned already. Head Start is also stationed within our district. We have a strong preschool program with the Great Start Readiness Program, and we have all-day kindergarten. With our immigrant population, that has become very effective, as well, and all-day, everyday kindergarten program. That solid foundation between Bright Beginnings, Head Start, pre-school, and all-day kindergarten has brought incredible results. Mr. Polis. Okay, yield back. Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much. The gentlelady from California, Mrs. Davis? Mrs. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to all of you for being here. I wanted to focus on the diversity of the teaching force for a moment. According to the Department of Education statistics from 2007 and 2008--and may well be quite aware of this--83 percent of public school teachers were white, 7 percent Latino, 7 percent African-American, and overall, 75 percent were female. So we have a problem. There aren't enough Latino and African-American teachers, but particularly male teachers for a diverse teaching force. The Washington Post ran an article last summer basically talking about the fact that young male African-American students really don't feel that they belong in a classroom. Interestingly enough, it doesn't affect the young women quite as much, because at least they have a female model, even though it may be an Anglo model in the classroom. And I wonder if you could speak a little bit to this issue. I actually was on the board of San Diego Unified from 1983 to 1992. And at that time, we created the African-American Male Project, which recognized that it was impossible to put--to have a teacher in every classroom, but if we could group students and at least they could have a benefit of a really good and strong role model. What is--you know, from your experience, how really as we move forward with the new authorization, what is it that you would like to see there that the Department of Education could be doing to increase that kind of diversity? Mr. Dale. I would like to jump in on that one, because I share with you--and I would add into the mix the shortage of Asian teachers in general, male and female both, is a very underrepresented group. I think the incentive in the pipeline is there are a lot of people who entered education with various incentive programs several decades ago that no longer exist, but I think that is the key piece. The other ones are new teachers for America programs that actually go out and overtly begin to recruit underrepresented groups of individuals. And the final piece that we need to pay attention to is our workforce is changing, and we are now experiencing people with multiple careers. And so it is not just the college area, but it is out of the general workforce where people are now wanting to come into to education. So we have to have our sights on not only recruiting in the pipeline and through college, but also as people are changing positions in their own careers and lives. Mrs. Davis. And as a few more, if you can respond--but, you know, I think intuitively, we know how important this is. I don't know whether--do we have really statistics that show that it really does make a difference in terms of the performance of young African-American males, for example, or other groups? Mr. Gipp. I was just going to say that teacher training initiatives are a major priority for us with respect to tribal and Indian communities across the nation. We need to set a goal of recruiting at least 2,500 new Indian teachers in our systems alone, and that is probably the low side of it, out of the Department of Education's goal of 200,000. And we need to reauthorize teacher training initiative for tribal colleges and universities that I was talking about earlier. And we need to have a tribal priority allocation for native teacher recruitment. We need to do very strong recruitment. If we don't, then, you know, nothing is going to move and nothing is going to happen. And I am not convinced that enough is being done across the board when we talk about these special populations, particularly with Native Americans. Mr. Wotorson. I would just say very briefly that the federal government can support the incentivizing process to ensure that we do, in fact, not only recruit more diverse teachers, but also to retain and support them. As you well know, part of what we are struggling against is a perception in our country today that the teaching force is no longer an honorable or desirable profession. We have to figure out a way to reverse that trend. Mrs. Davis. Thank you. Mr. Curry. And if I could add, continue to support alternative routes to education. My community is--even though it is a rural community, we are 25 percent African-American, we struggle just the same, of getting enough good role models. Many times we get them from the military. We continue also to support ways to get, you know, troops into the classroom after their retirement after they do their term. Mrs. Davis. Thank you. My time is up, but if I might just say, I am very interested in the evaluation process that we are talking about in the new reauthorization. If you have some ideas or thoughts about that, I would certainly welcome how we can do a better job of incentivizing school districts and schools to have good oversight in terms of principal evaluations, as well as teachers. Thanks a lot. Chairman Kildee. Thank you. The chair now recognizes the gentlelady from California, Ms. Chu. Ms. Chu. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Ms. Diaz, I just wanted to commend you on your collaborative model in your district, especially as it pertains to English-learner students. Since I have so many in my district, I was very, very interested in that. And I was impressed by how you include every stakeholder, including teachers, who are able to have input into the process. Now, my question pertains to assessment. According to No Child Left Behind, English learners were supposed to be given tests that were appropriate for them, but we had a problem in California and continue to have it, where English learner students are given the mainstream English language assessment test the moment they walk in the door. And, of course, the students don't understand it, they fail miserably, and that is their first experience with the school. I am wondering how you dealt with the whole assessment issue. Ms. Diaz. In Michigan, we have two tracks for assessing English-language learners. We are testing them, their language acquisition knowledge, with LVA, and we are also assessing their content acquisition with the regular state assessment, the MEAP. We have provided 9 months of reprieve for new immigrants that are coming to the states for the first time. And we are grateful for that. We do feel that as they increase in grade levels, it does become more difficult for the students to not only acquire the English language, but the content level that is required. And so 9 months is not quite enough, if you come in as a brand-new immigrant to--as a sophomore, for example, in a high school and are expected to know all the content area that goes along with that. And so it is a challenge, and the modifications that would be required would probably be more time, granting them more time to be able to acquire the language and then, also, of course, the content. It is important. We do our best, and it is difficult, and we have to have high expectations, because we--I also see it as a delicate balance for educators to also get a little lazy with that time period that we would give them as time to acquire, so there needs to be a delicate balance between making sure that during that time effective teaching is happening and that we are not sheltering them and mother-henning them, as I explained earlier, but also utilizing that time very effectively to maximize their language acquisition learning. Ms. Chu. Are you giving them the same test--does every student get the same test? Because an alternative would be a test that may be more appropriate for them. Ms. Diaz. Yes, they do have the same test. There are some modifications that we can--standard modifications that we could utilize for ELL learners. And, again, we appreciate that, but there could be more. Ms. Chu. And do you do those modifications to the assessments? Ms. Diaz. Yes. Yes. We absolutely utilize every modification that we are provided with. Ms. Chu. Dr. Dale? Mr. Dale. In Virginia, we have an alternative assessment that was not only able to be used for special needs, but also our early English-language learners in the assessment of reading competency or literacy competency, really. And so we basically had an alternative assessment available for the first 2 years of their English-language learning, and they were able to demonstrate literacy competency versus trying to--test could just become an English-language vocabulary test if it is not done in an alternative manner. So we were able to do that during those first 2 years, and then they moved into the regular assessment. Ms. Chu. And what was the benefit of doing it that way? Mr. Dale. The benefit of doing it that way was to allow our children to demonstrate literacy competency while still recognizing they are still learning English. And they on the human side of it could recognize that, oh, I actually know what is expected, and so allow that kind of growth and development to continue to occur, instead of discouragement that you were speaking of. Ms. Chu. Right. And, finally, Ms. Diaz, you emphasized parental involvement. The California Association of Bilingual Educators brought to my attention the elimination of funding in the president's budget for parental information and resource centers. They use the funding extensively to help ELL parents in California become involved in the school system. What impact does this funding elimination have on your school district's ability to engage ELL students? Or where did you get the funding to involve the ELL parents? Ms. Diaz. We utilized Title 3 immigrant funding and limited English proficient funding for our parent involvement. We have had this Parents Are Teachers program for about 10 years now, and it has always come from the Title 3 funding. With the immigrant funding, this year, we added the before- and after-school tutoring. What is unique about that is that we have the regular content teachers re-teaching the content for the students, and that is very critical. You know, our parent involvement has been a very strong part of our success in educating the parents. When they understand what they can do at home, they are empowered to really make those changes. They tell us that because of that, their lives have changed, not just what they do routinely on a daily basis at home with what we have taught, but their jobs. They are much more successful citizens, as well. They have gone on to, you know, go on to college, get GEDs, get, you know, promotions at work to supervisory positions. And so it empowers them as citizens, as well, when we can incorporate parental involvement. Ms. Chu. Thank you. Chairman Kildee. Thank you very much. This panel has individually and collectively been very helpful to the committee, as we work our way through the reauthorization of this bill. I want to thank the staff for bringing together such a distinguished group, again, individually and collectively. It has been very helpful to us. I love hearings, because you really get people who are expert in this, see this every day, and bring that expertise here to Washington, and so I thank you very much. As previously ordered, members will have 14 calendar days to submit additional materials for the hearing record. And any member who wishes to submit follow-up questions in writing to the witnesses should coordinate with the majority staff within the requisite time. Without objection and with thanks, this hearing is adjourned. [An additional submission from Mr. Kildee follows:] Prepared Statement of the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is currently up for Reauthorization and it is the most important federal law that applies to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal students. The ESEA currently has 10 Titles with multiple programs. Some are general programs, like the Title I Improving Basic Programs, and some are specific to Native Americans, like the Title VII Indian Education Act programs. Tribal students, whether they attend Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) funded schools or state public schools, are served by all of the ESEA programs. And, all of the programs could do more to help tribal students by recognizing a role, or by enhancing the role or roles, including in public school education, of tribal governments as sovereign nations. Tribal governments are a major untapped resource in education, and this ESEA Reauthorization needs to change that. Over 200 of the over 560 federally-recognized tribal governments today have education agencies. Known as Tribal Education Departments'' (TEDs) or Tribal Education Agencies'' (TEAs), these tribal governmental agencies can help the non-tribal federal and state governments serve tribal students. TEDs / TEAs can assist with the most fundamental education improvement and accountability functions like data collection, reporting, and analysis. TEDs / TEAs can help in other areas as well, including the development of curricula, standards, and assessments; teacher training; research; and, specific local initiatives like truancy intervention, drop out prevention, and tutoring programs. In particular, TEDs / TEAs are in a unique position to coordinate data on tribal students that is generated by various and sometimes multiple sources, including federal education programs, public school systems, states, and BIE-funded schools. For tribal students, this never has happened before; right now we can only imagine accurate and current tribe-wide, statewide, or nationwide data-based reports on tribal students. But if such reports were available, agencies and legislatures of all governments could make data-driven decisions regarding tribal students as they implement the next Reauthorization of the ESEA. For the data roles of TEDs / TEAs to reach their full potential, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) needs to be clarified by an amendment that includes TEDs / TEAs as being among the education agencies, authorities, and officials to whom protected student records and information can be released without the advance consent of parents or students. Such an amendment to FERPA would be consistent with the TED / TEA programs authorized by Congress since the ESEA Reauthorizations of 1988 and 1994 and thus would bring FERPA up to date and in accord with the ESEA. TEDs and TEAs in the ESEA The current ESEA authorizes TEDs / TEAs in Title VII and Title X. Both Titles contemplate that TEDs / TEAs will coordinate education programs; develop and enforce tribal education codes, policies, and standards; and provide support services and technical assistance to schools and programs. Unfortunately, the funding authorized to support this work in Titles VII and X never has been appropriated. This Reauthorization should retain both TED / TEA program provisions, increase their funding levels to at least$25 million, and strengthen
them. Moreover, each ESEA Title needs to better connect TEDs / TEAs
with states, public school districts, BIE-funded schools, and the
various federal education programs that serve tribal students.
Title I: TEDs as SEAs, Increased Tribal-State Relations; and Teaching
Tribal Sovereignty
Title I is and always has been the biggest ESEA program (over \$15
billion annually). State Educational Agencies (SEAs) can get Title I
funds if they submit proper plans that address academic standards,
assessments, and accountability; teaching and learning support;
parental involvement; and reporting. In the development of these state
education plans, which are a prerequisite for Title I funds; there is
no specified role for TEDs / TEAs. This has severely limited or
impaired the ability of TEDs / TEAs to work with SEAs. The following
three recommendations should be incorporated into Title I:
1) TEDs / TEAs should be Authorized to Perform SEA
functions within Tribal Geographic Territories
TEDs / TEAs should be authorized to perform SEA functions within
significantly large tribal geographic territories that include a high
percentage of tribal students served by Title I. For example, twelve
Indian reservations are larger than the State of Rhode Island, and nine
reservations are larger than the State of Delaware. Instead of being
part of a state's Title I education plan, the TEDs / TEAs that serve
these large tribal geographic bases should be allowed to develop a
reservation-wide or a tribal-wide plan for Title I funds, which the TED
/ TEA should submit directly to the U.S. Department of Education. If
the U.S. Education Department approves the TED's / TEA's plan, the TED
/ TEA should get Title I funds directly from the Department and perform
the SEA services within the Tribe's geographic territory.
Presumably, not every TED / TEAs would immediately seek SEA
status--some TEDs / TEAs are ready and willing to perform SEA functions
immediately while others will take several years to develop the
necessary capacity and infrastructure. For example, the TED / TEA of
the Navajo Nation is already performing SEA-like functions on the
Navajo Reservation and is currently working with the BIE to seek
official designation as a SEA. Another TED / TEA that is seeking SEA
status is that of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. But although the vast
majority of TEDs / TEAs are not likely to seek SEA status in the
immediate future, they should have that option when they are ready.
Where TEDs / TEAs do get Title I funds directly under an approved
tribal-wide plan, TEDs / TEAs should have the option of sub-granting
the Title I funds to the public schools that serve tribal students, or
co-administering the Title I funds with the public schools, or even
administering the Title I funds themselves.
These changes will connect Title I funds and programs with states
and tribes. The recommendations may sound radical, but the fact is that
the BIE-funded schools have long been able to administer Title I grants
directly. And the most recent ESEA Reauthorization--the No Child Left
Behind Act--went even further to allow TEDs / TEAs to set standards in
BIE-funded schools and even accredit BIE-funded schools. The public
schools, where 92% of tribal students go, now need these same kinds of
options.
2) States should be Required to Meet with TEDs or TEAs as a
Condition of Receiving Title I funds
In other instances, outside of significantly large tribal
geographic territories, where there are TEDs / TEAs located within
states, the ESEA should, at a minimum, require the SEAs of those states
to identify the TEDs / TEAs, meet with them on a quarterly basis,
develop joint strategies for improving education in schools with tribal
students served by Title I, and jointly report on the results of such
meetings to the U.S. Education and the Interior Departments as a
condition of receiving Title I funds.
3) Encourage or Mandate the Teaching of Tribal Sovereignty
as a Condition of Receiving Title I Funds
Yet another suggestion for the Title I program would be to
encourage those states receiving Title I funds that have TEDs / TEAs
operating within their borders, if they do not already have one, and
there are five states that do--California, Maine, Montana, Oregon, and
Wisconsin--to enact state laws that mandate the teaching of tribal
sovereignty in their K-12 curriculum on a regular basis. If a state
chooses not to enact such a law, TEDs / TEAs with students served by
Title I funding must be allowed to develop such a curriculum mandate
that the public schools must follow.
Titles II and III: Native Language Curricula and Teacher Certification
Twelve states--Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska,
Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and
Wyoming--now have laws that address tribal language curriculum and the
certification of teachers for these curricula in their public schools.
All of these laws acknowledge a role of tribes as sovereigns in the
development and implementation of these laws. The Reauthorized ESEA
should require the SEAs and the TEDs / TEAs in these states to jointly
track the progress made in implementing these laws and their impacts on
students, and to jointly report on these matters to the Department of
Education and Congress. Further, the ESEA Reauthorization should
authorize, at least on a nationwide pilot project basis, other states
and tribes to enter into compacts or agreements for tribal language
curricula development and teacher certification, and authorize
appropriate funding to implement such compacts or agreements.
Titles VII and VIII: Tribal Eligibility or Increased Eligibility as
Grantees
In the ESEA Reauthorization, for the Indian Education Act Formula
Grant programs and for Impact Aid funding, tribes should be eligible or
increasingly eligible to receive directly these funds, if a tribe has a
TED / TEA and is willing to enter into a compact with a public school
district to co-manage and co-administer these funds. For the most part,
public school districts have not been willing to voluntarily agree to
such arrangements, and thus the ESEA should allow the funding to go to
eligible Tribes that then would be required to enter into cooperative
agreements with public school districts.
Title IX: Definition, Tribal Consolidated Plans and Reporting, Tribal
Waivers
1) Definition
The ESEA and other federal statutes at present have several
different definitions of TEDs / TEAs which has caused some confusion.
The following definition of TEDs / TEAs should be included in the next
ESEA Reauthorization definitional section:
(__) Tribal educational agency
The term Tribal educational agency'' means the authorized
governmental agency of a federally-recognized American Indian and
Alaska Native tribe (as defined in 25 U.S.C. Sec. 450b) that is
primarily responsible for regulating, administering, or supervising the
formal education of tribe members. Tribal education agency'' includes
tribal education departments, tribal divisions of education, tribally
sanctioned education authorities, tribal education administrative
planning and development agencies, tribal education agencies, and
tribal administrative education entities.
2) Tribes receiving ESEA funding should, like SEAs, be
Eligible to Consolidate Administrative Funds
eligible for Consolidation
Currently, Part B of Title IX allows SEAs to consolidate
administrative funds available in ESEA programs eligible for
consolidation if the SEA can demonstrate that the majority of its
resources are from non-Federal sources. TEDs / TEAs receiving ESEA
funding should be able to consolidate administrative funds according to
the same set of requirements.
Tribal students are served by programs funded from federal,
private, tribal, and state sources. Potentially all of these programs
contain funds to be used for administrative purposes. The authority of
TEDs / TEAs to consolidatie administrative funds received will reduce
waste and ensure efficient program management at the tribal level.
3) Tribes, Like SEAs, should be Authorized to Submit ESEA
Consolidated Plans and Consolidated Annual Reports
Currently, Title IX Part C allows SEAs to submit ESEA consolidated
plans and consolidated annual reports. Consolidated plans include
general information about each program and a single set of assurances
applicable to each program. Consolidated annual reports replace
individual annual reports for each program included in the consolidated
annual report. TEDs / TEAs receiving ESEA funding similarly should be
eligible to submit consolidated plans and consolidated annual reports.
The purposes of Part C are to improve teaching and learning, by
encouraging greater cross-program coordination, planning and service
delivery'' and to provide greater flexibility through consolidated
plans, applications, and reporting. No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C.
Sec. 7841. For tribal students, the potential need for program
coordination is particularly great. Authorizing TEDs / TEAs to submit
consolidated plans and consolidated reports is consistent with the
express purposes of Part C.
4) Tribes should be Eligible to Request Title IX Waivers
for Public Schools within Tribal Geographic
Territories
Currently, Title IX Part D allows for waivers by the Secretary of
Education of ESEA statutory and regulatory requirements. Tribes are
among the eligible entities that may request a waiver for tribally
operated schools. The ESEA reauthorization should retain this option
and extend the option for TEDs / TEAs to seek waivers of statutory and
regulatory requirements for public schools at least within
significantly large tribal geographic territories.
Such waivers have the potential to allow TEDs / TEAs the
flexibility and local control needed to improve the academic
performance of tribal students. Specifically, various reports and
research show that tribal students generally perform better when taught
using tribal language and culture. The Navajo Nation has requested a
Title IX waiver to develop its own definition of AYP. Other Tribes
could request waivers to develop their own standards, assessments, and
curriculum to meet the unique cultural-academic needs and goals of
their communities.
Conclusion
The drop out rate of tribal secondary and elementary students
nationwide remains an alarmingly high 50%. All stakeholders that are
affected by this dire statistic and other troubling statistics
regarding tribal student academic achievement, test scores, and college
readiness, stand to gain from enhanced roles of TEDs / TEAs in the ESEA
Reauthorization. The recommendations in this report will result in
crucial structural and programmatic changes and support to develop TED
/ TEA roles and capacity to better-serve tribal students.
______

[An additional submission from Mr. Miller follows:]

March 25, 2010.
Chairman George Miller,
Committee on Education and Labor, 2181 Rayburn House Office Building,
Washington, DC.
Re: Supplemental Testimony for Subcommittee hearing on Elementary and
Secondary Education Act Reauthorization: Addressing the Needs of
Diverse Students''

Dear Chairman Miller: National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
staff attended the March 18, 2010 hearing of the Early Childhood,
Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee on Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Reauthorization: Addressing the Needs of
Diverse Students'' and offers this letter to supplement the record on
the use of a student's Individual Education Program (IEP) as in
accountability tool.
Dr. Daniel Curry testified that one of the ways in which rural
school districts could be helped in ESEA reauthorization would be to
use a student's IEP as an accountability measure under the ESEA. No
other witness testified in support of this position. Dr. Jacqui Farmer
Kearns testified that the IEP should not be used as an accountability
tool, as that was not its intent. She also testified that if the IEP
were to be used as an accountability tool it could result in an
increase in litigation under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA).
NDRN strongly agrees with Dr. Kearns' testimony that a student's
IEP should not be used as an accountability measure for ESEA purposes.
The IEP lists a student's current level of educational performance,
annual goals designed to meet the needs arising from the disability,
how progress is to be measured, and the services to be provided to the
student. Therefore, even for students with the most severe
disabilities, the IEP does not address all areas of a student with a
disability's education and does not serve as the student's curriculum.
Furthermore, the IEP is not necessarily grounded in any outside
objective measure, such as the regular education curriculum. Thus,
strong performance on a student's IEP goals need not have any
connection to progress in the general curriculum.
One of the benefits of the NCLB is the expectation that all
students, including students with disabilities, are expected to learn.
This was operationalized by requiring that all but a small percentage
of students with disabilities be given the same assessments as all
other students. This requirement allows us to know how students with
disabilities are performing compared to their peers who do not have
disabilities. It provides an objective way to determine how students
with disabilities are performing on an outside measure of performance
tied to the expectations for all students. It would be harmful to
remove this critical, objective mode of comparison at this time, as
students with disabilities, even those who should be expected to
perform at grade level, continue to lag behind their peers who do not
have disabilities.
There are other options within NCLB's current framework that could
be utilized to more accurately measure how students with disabilities
are performing on grade level content without removing them from the
ESEA accountability system. For example, NCLB currently allows students
with disabilities to take the same assessment which is given to all
other students, but with accommodations as approved within an IEP.
However, certain accommodations have been deemed to invalidate the
test, even if the accommodations have been approved by the IEP team,
are used by the student in all course work, and may very well be used
by the student for the rest of his or her life. These restrictions
should be lifted from any reauthorization of the ESEA to better enable
students with disabilities to demonstrate their proficiency.
Finally, as Dr. Kearns testified, using the IEP as an
accountability measure would increase litigation under IDEA. It is our
experience that the ways in which a student's progress is measured are
not the subject of IDEA due process hearings with any frequency. The
primary issues raised in due process tend to pertain to the nature or
amount of services being provided to a student, whether the student's
placement is in the least restrictive environment, and other issues
concerning the nature of the students program. If the IEP were to
become the accountability measure, it would place this issue at the
forefront of litigation. An increase in litigation would only divert
resources from cash-strapped schools and increase tension between those
schools and parents. Given the negative academic and financial
consequences of using the IEP as an accountability mechanism, NDRN
strongly advises against it.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit our views on this very
important issue.
Sincerely,
Ronald M. Hager,
Senior Staff Attorney.
______

[Whereupon, at 11:45 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
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